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Cornell University Library 
PR 4825.J255A8 

Alfonso Petrucci, cardinal and consplrato 

3 1924 013 488 535 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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The history of the Petrucci Conspiracy fills one of the 
saddest pages in the annals of the Roman Pontificate. 
It is described by Guicciardini in his thirteenth book, 
and in the biographies of Alfonso Petrucci, given by 
Palatius (Fasti Cardinaliuni) and by Eggs, in his Purpura 
Doda. The life of Leo X. which they give respectively 
in their " Gesta Pontif. Romanorum " and the " Pontijidum 
Doctum " throws further light upon the melanchoty 
narrative. The incidents of the conspiracy have been 
closely followed, the characters of Laodamia Petrucci 
and Violante Riario * being the only non-historic ones. 
They are designed to represent the spirit of the re- 
generated Italy of the present as contrasted with the 
demoralized Italy of the past. 

* Laodamia was a name not unusual in the Patrician families of 
Tuscany. The sister of Pius II. was so named. Violante was the 
name of the mother of Riario. 


Pope Leo X. {at first, the Cardinal de' Medici). 

Cardinal Riario, -\ 

Cardinal Soderini, > involved in the conspiracy. 

Cardinal Saulio, ) 

Pandolfo Petrucci, Lord of Siena. 

Borghese, "I , . 

.„ . > his sons. 

Alfonso (Cardinal),] 

Raffaello Petrucci, Brother of Pandolfo. 

RiNALDO Vwrre-VCCl {Father of Laodamia), Auditor of the 


The Archbishop of Siena. 

Cardinal Cornelio, a friend of Alfonso. 

Antonio, Secretary of Alfonso Petrucci. 

The Secretary of the city of Siena. 

Orlando, a Moor, formerly in the service of Pandolfo. 

Laodamia Petrucci, Daughter of Rinaldo, engaged to 

ViOLANTE Riario, Niece of Cardinal Riario, engaged to 

The Donna Maddalena, Sister of Leo X. 

Citizens, Guards, etc. 

The Scene alternates between the Palace of the Petrucci 
in Siena * and the Palace of the Vatican. 

* The Palace of the Petrucci in Siena is said to have been founded 
in 1503 ; the promotion of Alfonso to the Cardinalate was in 1510. 



Scene I. — Siena. An Apartment in the Petrucci Palace 
PANDOLro Petrucci and Cardinal Riario. 

Pand. Lord Cardinal, thou hast been faithful found 
Among the faithless. In that Court where reign 
Intrigue and perfidy, yea, shameless guilt 
And base forgetfulness of favours given 
And faith reposed, thou still hast been the friend 
True to my house and me ; and in this hour 
Of my great need, the greatest and the last, 
I seek thine aid anew. 

Ria. What means my lord ? 

And how can I, well stricken now in years. 
Feeble and faint, assist so great a prince ? 

Pand. Thou know'st too well the history of my 
house — 
How first it rose in pride of opulence 
And lust of power o'er Siena's citizens, 
Who hailed me as their father and their lord. 


'Twas an inheritance that kings might envy, 

That self-built throne — that tree of strength I planted. 

Alas ! the storm hath scattered to the winds 

The hopes that erst like spring-tide leaves had clothed 

My life ; and now the withered stem reveals 

Its fourscore winters and their scathing rents, 

And spring returns no more ! 

Ria. And yet thine house, 

While thou canst count such branches on thy stem 
As Don Borghese and Alfonso, both 
Of princely form and minds of grandest mould. 
Might well defy the storms that shake the tree, 
And only break the sapling. 

Pand. Would thy words 

Were true as is thine heart ! Alas ! Borghese 
Affianced to thy niece, the fair Violante, 
Seems to thine eye as once he seemed to mine. 
Worthy to fill the, place my death must soon 
Make void. 

Ria. And doth thine heart proclaim him now 

Unworthy thee — unworthy Violante ? 

Pand. I meant not that. Right well I know that all 
The warlike gifts, the high deserts which marked 
Our race for glory, are in him renewed ; 
Yet the fierce feud which gives dread prophecy 
Of fratricidal guilt, of hands imbrued 
In blood (O God !) from common sire derived. 
Fills my last days with dreams of hideous guilt. 
And my long nights with sleeplessness. 

Ria. Thy fears 

How can I fail to share ? Our souls, alas ! 
In earlier day have drunk the maddening draught 
Of wild revenge, and find, in vain remorse. 


Its bitter after-taste ; and now we see 
The poisoned cup passed on to those we love, 
To drain even to the dregs — dread recompense 
Of guilt yet unatoned.* 

Pand. Oh ! mind me not 

Of that foul deed ; I dare not scan the past, 
When the grim future rises to appal me. 
I know, ere yet from this spent frame the breath 
Of life shall have gone forth, the younger son 
Will claim the lordship which of right devolves 
Upon the elder. Bold in plan and speech, 
Fluent, persuasive, and unscrupulous 
In all his course, Alfonso will appeal 
To senate and to townsmen, bought and bribed 
By promise fair of freedom, or by gold. 
To give Borghese's heritage to him. 
Could we but turn the stream of his ambition 
Into some other channel — find some fount 
Where he might slake the thirst for rule which burns 
Within his soul 1 

Ria. Yet where could such be found 

Save in some foreign Court, some warlike post 
Where he might better even than here fulfil 
His deadly hate — invoke some mightier power 
Against Borghese's rule — with fire and sword 
Bring desolation to these fruitful plains 
Whose wealth he might not share ? 

Pand. Such post would but 

* Riario was involved in the conspiracy of the Pazzi against tlie 
Medici, and Petrucci had caused the death of his father-in-law, 
Niccolo Borghese (see Guicciardini, "Hist, d'ltalia," c. iv.), and 
is also believed to have caused, by poison, the death of Pope 
Pius III. ("Eggs. Pontif. Doct.," p. 681). 


Make the dread feud more fatal and inveterate. 

Yet one resource is left. His soul's ambition 

Needs to be fed — yea, sated — till it feels 

No hunger save the hunger of despair 

That nought remains to conquer. At the Court 

Of Rome, amid the princely throng that fills 

The stately Vatican, he yet may save 

A proud name from dishonour, and a race 

Born to command from baser destiny. 

Ria. And would you claim for him that cruel lot, 
Which turns even friends to foes, and princes born 
To cringing menials — a Cardinal's ? 
Is Rome more safe than Siena? Are no hands 
Uplifted there to murder ? 

Fand. Yet what hand 

Can part the brothers who may even this hour 
Be stained with fratricide, save that which writes 
Alfonso Cardinal — lifts up his soul 
To higher life, his life to higher aims ? 
Oh, for her sake who soon will be the bride 
Of him for whom I plead, I do entreat thee 
To lay before his Holiness my prayer. 
Disclose the fearful past — the future traced 
In its grim light — and claim a father's love 
For him who else may lose a father's name. 
And write in anguish on his opening grave 
That he dies childless. 

Ria. But Laodamia ! 

Will she resign him ? will he heed the voice 
Even of the Pontiff, if his highest gift 
Should sever him from her whose very soul 
Hath linked its destiny of love with his ? 

Pand. I cannot turn aside to gaze on those 


Who may be near our path but must not cross it. 
Alfonso, if he claim the higher life, 
May well persuade the heart that claimed his love 
To dedicate its bridal thoughts to heaven ; 
And if he fail, her sire must be constrained, 
By bribe of place or fear of our displeasure. 
To make our cause his own. Be this my part, 
And thine our suit at Rome. 

Ria. My task is light 

To thine, and shall be well fulfilled. This hour 
I haste to Rome, and at the Pontiff's feet 
Will raise thy prayer and mine. 

Pand. 'Tis well ; I thank thee. 

Thy love hath never failed me, and must now 
Be doubly proved for Violante's sake. 
Farewell ! God speed thy .prayer ! 

Scene II. — An apartment in the Petrucci Palace in 
Siena. Violante ; Laodamia. 

• Viol. Our lives are one long mystery of grief ; 
A wayward fate at once unites and severs 
Hearts that in faith are one. 

Laod. And yet those hearts 

Are schooled by this stern destiny to rise 
To higher life. 'Tis ours to bind in one 
Two kindred hearts, united once, now rent 
Through mutual hate, still deepening, till the chasm 
Of fratricidal guilt shall close on them. 
To be their common tomb. Oh, could we rise 
Equal to such a work ! 

Viol. Yet have we striven 


And toiled the lifelong day, as labourers sent 

In earliest dawn to this sad labour-field ; 

But we have prayed and watched and toiled in vain. 

Each plea of love still makes their hatred deeper, 

And fiercer their disdain. 

Laod. Thy words are true ; 

Yet what a circlet of uniting love. 
But for one failing link, our souls might weld ! 
We love as sisters. Don Borghese's love 
\\'ith thine is linked, and with Alfonso's mine. 
But then the strongest link, the closest bond, 
Is lost. In severance dread the brothers stand, 
And the bright chain falls down on either side. 

Viol. Yet love, whose spell is stronger even than death, 
May forge that missing link. It may be that 
One work, one prayer is wanting ; * that one loss 
May forfeit all our gain. We may not faint 
While labouring for a heavenly crown like this. 

Laod. Thou hast well said. The missing link may fail 
Even through that missing prayer. But hark ! the sounds 
Of martial step, of voices pitched, methinks, 
To height of altercation. Let us fall 
Back to the distance, where yon dim recess 
May hide us both. \They retire to the background. 

Enter Borghese and Alfonso. 

Alf. Whence this new frenzy ? Why these dagger looks, 
Which like a papal curse glance forth to slay 
Body and soul together ? 

* " Havendo (Dio) determinate il niimero delle domande per le 
quali la vuole concedere, una clie sene lasci, non siamo esauditi." 
— S. Caterina de' Ricci. 


Borg. Vile supplanter ! 

Thou smooth-faced Jacob, ready aye to steal 
The birthright and the blessing ! Thinkest thou 
That I have not unearthed thee ? brought to light 
Thy base intrigues — thy bribes — thy canvassings 
Of venal senators ? 

■^if- Thou dost misjudge me. 

What have I got to bribe with ? What my means 
To force or to persuade ? Thy hand hath snatched 
From the last childhood of our aged sire 
All that he had to give. 

Borg. False tongue, thou liest. 

All that I have he gave me as his heir ; 
All that I hope for, but for thine intrigues, 
Must soon be mine. 

Alf. Such chance may Heaven forfend ! 

Is not all Siena wearied with thy guilt ? 
Hearest thou no curses muttered deep — no threats 
Of vengeance struggling madly into life ? 
And wouldst thou turn on me the tide of wrath 
Which surges on and must engulf thee yet ? 
Oh, worthy follower of the accursed Pazzi, 
Twice hath thine hand been raised, like theirs, to 

The blood of innocence. * Behold these scars, 
And dare, if dare thou canst, to deepen them. 

[ Uncovers his neck. 

Borg. Sayst thou this hand twice sought thy life ? 
Then draw. 

♦ " A Burghesio fratre suo ferro tentatus vulneris cicatrices ser- 
vavit in gutture usque ad sepulcrum " (" Palat. Fasti Card.," torn. i. 
p. 565). This attempt to take his brother's life is said to have been 
made twice (see Zedler, " Universal Lexicon," torn, xxvii. p. 1143). 


May this third stroke be fatal. 

\They draw. Violante and Laodamia rush to 
the front and stand between them, each holding 
the other's hands. 

Laod. Thy guardian angel and the saints that plead 
For those they love have stayed thine hand. Alfonso ! 
Forbear, if still thou lovest me. If thy love 
Is turned to hate, oh, let thy dagger first 
Drink my heart's blood, ere yet a brother falls 
Beneath thine hand. 

Viol. Borghese 1 is the pledge 

Thou gavest me false ? Didst thou not promise me 
Never to bear that weapon in thy breast 
Which minded thee of guilt, and yet might tempt thee 
To deed of murder ? Cast it, cast it from thee. 
Live to repent, to love ; think of Alfonso 
But as the husband of thy kinswoman, 
The more than sister of thy Violante ; 
And through this path may thy first love return. 
Alas ! your looks are cold ! 

Borg. The sight of thee 

Hath chilled the fever-heat of wrath — disarmed 
Awhile my firm resolve. 

Viol. Say not awhile, — 

For ever. Come, embrace him. 

Laod. Smile, Alfonso. 

Look not so fearfully aside. Come near ; 
Embrace your brother. Let the cause of God 
Be for this once triumphant. It will be 
Your triumph, too \ a brighter crown than e'er 
Your sire hath worn, or Siena yet can give I 

\They embrace coldly, and retire on either side. 


Scene III. — As before. Rinaldo Petrucci ; Laodamia. 

Rin. {embracing Laodamia). My daughter ! 

Laod. My sire, what brings thee hither ? Why should I 
Dread most the presence that I most should love ? 
Yet even the voices we most longed to hear 
Seem burdened now with prophecies of grief. 

Rin. Yet were it ill that loving voice should bear 
False prophecy, or hide our coming fate. 
The dangers that o'erhang our house and race 
Thou know'st too well, I need not count them now. 
Dark clouds, uprising from the distant past. 
Brood o'er the future, and ere long must burst 
In ruin o'er our heads. 

Laod. What means my sire ? 

Rin. The unnatural feud which rends our race in 
Must close its reign in blood, unless 

Laod. Oh, say — 

What means that word unless ? Explain — interpret. 

Rin. Unless thy hand avert the fatal shaft. 
Which else must pierce the souls of all we love. 

Laod. Oh, speak — what meanest thou? How can / 
A shaft I see not — know not whence it comes, 
Or where its stroke may fall ? 

Rin. Alfonso's life 

Is in thy hands ; Borghese's fate is linked 
With his, and ours with both. 

Laod. I pray you speak 

More plainly. Could I save Alfonso's life, 


Mine ow.n would be a willing sacrifice. 

I would yield all for him — save his dear love ! 

Rin. Yet that, and not thy life, must be the victim, 
The one peace-offering. Were his love for thee 
As pure as thine — 

Laod. Oh, doubt it not, my father ! 

Rin. Yet must I doubt it, while ambition reigns 
Supreme in all his life. Ambition, child, 
Is but a cruel stepmother to love. 
His heart is proud of thee. In thee he sees 
One worthy of himself ; yet only worthy 
Because thy mind, thy power, thy skill to win 
The world he seeks to gain, will all be his — 
His to supply the greed of his ambition, 
Not slake the thirst of love. 

Laod. Thou dost misjudge him. 

How canst thou know Alfonso as I know him, 
Who read his inmost thoughts ? Alas ! too well 
I read the tale of vengeance long suppressed, 
Of pride indomitable, high ambition ; 
And yet in every line a mystic truth 
O'errules the literal sense. That truth is love — ■ 
Love that presides o'er all his inmost thoughts ; 
Love that even now hath made him sheathe the dagger 
In bitter hatred drawn. Oh, loving father, 
Thou know'st but half his soul. 

Rin. Yet say, my daughter. 

Were he a murderer, could you love him still ? 

Laod. My love would save him from so dire a guilt. 

Rin. Yet if one only act of love could save, 
Say, wouldst thou dare to do it ? 

Laod. Cheerfully. 

Rin. And if that act cut off thy last fond hope, 


Even as the offering of the patriarch, 

And left thee lone in this world's wilderness 

Laod. Oh, whither wouldst thou lead my darkening 
steps ? 
I cannot follow thee. 

Rin. Suppose, then, that 

Alfonso, called to higher state of hfe. 
Were placed beyond the sphere of woman's love, 
Except such love as springs from sacred tie 
Of sister or of friend. Couldst thou resign 
The dearer name of wife and call thyself 
The sister — guardian of his higher life 
And heavenly destiny ? 

Laod. What higher life 

Were mine on earth than his unchanging love ? 
Heaven hath for me no higher gift than this. 

Rin. Yet hath it higher gift for him. 

Laod. What mean'st thou ? 

Rin. In Rome 'tis said that in the next promotion 
To the high dignity of Cardinal, 
Alfonso's name in foremost rank will stand, 
If this be so, wouldst thou surrender him — 
Renounce thy claim as his affianced one — • 
Consent to be his sister, friend, and guide ? 

Laod. Thou askest a hard thing ; for could I see him 
Raised like the Prophet to angelic state — 
Unlike that great successor who discerned 
His parting guide, and by that sight was raised 
To claim a yet more wondrous ministry, 
A doubled gift — mine eye would pale and fade, 
My mission close, my Ufe's work end for ever ! 

Rin. Yet were his life to fall beneath the stroke 
Of unmasked guilt or secret treachery, 


As fall it must unless this deadly feud 

For ever cease — what good would thy life do thee ? 

Laod. Might not my love with gentlest hand arrest 
The arm of guilt ? Might not the tender words 
Of wife be as a spell to charm away 
The darkest thoughts of vengeance, plans of guilt ? 
May not this be my lot, and were it well 
That I should shrink from it ? 

Rin. I ask thee not 

To yield thy love, but rather to exalt it 
With his to higher state — to make it now 
The handmaid of his soul along that path 
Where all is peace. As prince of Holy Church, 
From that proud eminence he might look down 
On the wild fray that makes our Tuscan plains 
But an Aceldama, a field of blood ; 
Bind up the wounds of our loved Italy, 
Fallen among thieves, despoiled of all but life. 

Laod. Oh, could I read his future as thou read'st it. 
And feel that peace could ever reign where reigns 
Eternal warfare, and could reign through him, 
I well might pray that in the Court of Rome 
Alfonso's life might find a place of rest, 
My lifelong love a grave. Yet wherefore trust 
To rumours wild as this ? How know'st thou that 
The Pope designs to raise him to the purple ? 

Rin. Here in my hands I hold the papal brief 
Declaring him a Cardinal and commanding 
His presence at the Court. 

Laod. And deem'st thou then 

That he will heed such mandate? And can I 
Resign him if he claims my pledged word ? 
His hand, not mine, must loose the sacred bond 


Which his true love hath wrought — alone deprive 
My trembling heart of its last earthly joy, 
To be but loved by him. 

Rin. But I must haste 

To bear to him this mandate. Fear not, child, 
That I shall influence, I persuade, who mourn 
This fatal destiny — whose hopes of bliss 
For my last years were all built up with thine. 
And see them fallen together ! Fare thee well ! 

Scene IV. — Another apartment in the same palace. 

Alf. {alone ; sitting before a table, a letter, with the 
papal seal attached, in his hand). Oh that this 
brief were but a letter sent 
To tell me of her love — to mind me of 
The glance that made these dreary scenes so bright, 
The vows whose echoes on mine ear return. 
Like music heard in dreams ! Oh that it came 
To tell me that she loves me still ! Yet that 
Would need no written proof; for loving hearts 
Speak an unwritten tongue. (Pauses and looks at the brief 

in deep thought). I seem to read 
The mystery now, Borghese's hand hath moved 
My sire's ; my sire's the Pope's. Can this be so ? 
Yet can it hardly be. For were it so. 
They know too well that I would fling it back 
As though it came from some plague-stricken spot. 
And what is Rome but that ? Yet let me pause. 
How can I bear to bring before her eye 
This page, the death-warrant of her true life, 


The death-stroke of our love ? Oh, I should seem 

Like heathen monster dragging forth to death 

The Christian martyr whose last prayer was raised 

For her fell murderer. Such piteous sight 

Might even in savage breast inspire the breath 

Of love, or fan the flame of late remorse. 

— Laodamia, would I ne'er had loved. 

Or loving, had to peasant's life been born. 

Whose healthy toil builds up the day in bliss 

And crowns the night with rest ; whose love's bright path 

Is never crossed by proud ambitions tread ; 

Whose heart the fear of poisoned shaft or cup 

Can never enter ! But my soul is lost. 

I dare not gaze upon the past ; the future 

Rises before me, bathes my soul in light, 

The glorious baptism of a higher life. \Pauses. 

Prince of the Church, I plant my foot upon 

The first proud step of my ambition's throne. 

Armed with the power which that firm vantage-ground 

Will give, and aided by the Sovereign Pontiff, 

Siena will fall beneath my sway ; Borghese 

Own me his lord — yea, crave his life of me. 

Whose death his treacherous hand hath twice essayed. 

Then, as a sister, though no more a spouse, 

Laodamia shall my glory share. 

And the bright vision of my early love 

Rise up before me as the form inspired 

Of Beatrice filled the heavenly dream 

Of Alighieri. — But even now she comes ! 

Beat low my heart, nor let my stifled breath 

Betray the fear, the love that strive to gain 

The mastery of my soul ! 


Enter Laodamia. 

Cousin and sister ! 

Laod. Alfonso, hast thou seen my sire — received 
The brief which from the sacred Chancery 
He bears thee ? 

Alf. Would that it had never come ! 

Or else that I could read it as the trick 
Of some poor trifler, skilled to counterfeit 
The style of Rome. 

Laod. Oh that it were but that ! 

Then might we smile at it, amused to think 
Of that new part thou hast been called to fill 
In life's wild drama. But our time is short ; 
We may not waste in converse light these moments 
Fraught with strange message both to thee and me. 
To me and thee ! for still our lives are one. 
Thy griefs, thy joys, are mine ; thy glory still 
My morning-star, mine evening-star thy love ! 

Alf. And hast thou schooled thine he irt, Laodamia, 
So soon to this dread lesson ? Mine would seem 
Of sterner mould, and harder far to bend. 

Laod. The broken spirit hath no need to bend, 
The dead to die again ; yet in the faith 
That this high destiny will raise thy soul 
To higher state, I rise from this deep grave 
Of sorrow. Why should I weigh down thy life 
With my poor love ? 

Alf. I pray thee to forbear — 

If thou wouldst have me barter thus for glory 
The treasure of thy love, Oh, hide from me 
The fearful cost ! Speak never of that gift, 
Or let me claim it still ! 


Laod. _ It still is thine, 

And I must speak of it that it may yet 
Inspire thy life — no more an earthly flame, 
But kindled, like the vestal fire of old, 
tey purest faith, to be extinguished never. 
. Hear me, then, as with prophet-voice I utter 
The last, last charge of this o'erburdened heart. 
And let it fire thy soul ! 

Alf. Oh, tyranny 

Of love, still conquering even when yielding up 
Its very life, how can I hear thee not ? 
How bear to hear thee ? But thou still must reign. 
Now speak. 

Laod. Alfonso, God hath called thy soul 
To do great work for Him, for Italy, 
For our loved country, bleeding with the wounds 
Of centuries of wrong. Rome, Florence, Siena, 
What are they all but nests of high-born pirates 
Who for mere power would build their houses on 
Their country's ruin — write their names in blood, 
Then found a dynasty ? Oh, is not this 
The history of our race — the secret spring 
Of that dark feud which soon may close its page 
With tale of fratricide ? Was it not this 
That armed the Pazzi 'gainst the Medici, 
When the great Julian fell beneath the stroke 
Of treason, in the very sanctuary ? 
'Twas then Lorenzo, o'er his brother's grave. 
Spake thus to the full heart of Italy : 
"They whom the law for public wrong pursues 
Or private guilt, take refuge in the Church 
Secure from danger. What to them gives life. 
To us brings death. Where parricides are safe 


The Medici find only murderers." * \Paiisei. 

And they would shelter thee where Julian fell, 

From thy twice-threatened death ! and deem my love, 

My prayers, my tears, a frailer sanctuary 

Than Rome — poor refuge for true hearts like thine. 

Is there no dagger there ? no hand to wield it ? 

No church, convenient as the Reparata ? 

Was not the Pazzi's vengeance armed from thence ? 

Did not the Pope, Riario, Salviati,f 

Wing the dread message and direct the blow ? 

Yet be it so ; weapons of death no more 

May be thy safe-guards. Faith, love, words of peace. 

Must be thy daggers now ! (Pauses in deep etnotion, ami 

proceeds!) Yet hear me further. 
Thou wilt be the youngest of the Sacred College, 
Yet for that cause the strongest. Life with them 
Is ebbing fast away ; with thee its tide 
Comes in with the unreined energy of youth. 
Theirs is the frothy surf — poor legacy 
Of tempests, scattering into clouds of foam 
The troubled billows of their lives of guilt. 
O'er which thy life, like wave seen far behind. 
Shall climb like crest of glory. Yet beware — 

* " Sogliono rifuggire nelle chiese tutti quelle, clie per pubblica 
o grivata cagione sono perseguitati. Adunque da clii gli altri sono 
difesi, noi siamo morti ; dove i parricidi e gli assassini sono sicuri, 
i Medici trovarono gli ucciditori loro" (Machiavelli, " Storia 
Fiorent.," 1. viii.) 

t " Volleno (i Pazzi) avanti alia partita parlasse al Pontefice 
(Sisto IV.) il quale fece tutte quelle offerte potette maggiori in 
beneficio dell' impresa " ("La congiura de' Pazzi) (Machiavelli, 
"Hist.," li. viii.). For his complicity in the conspiracy, Riario was 
imprisoned, and the Archbishop Salviati, as well as his two brothers, 



Their lives were once as thine ; thine yet may be 

Dispersed in foam, in quicksands lost like theirs. 

— Yet one word more. Alfonso, I have heard thee 

Say ofttimes, " May the younger live and flourish ! " 

What means that doubtful word ? Is it that the young 

May live the life of those who went before. 

And flourish as they flourished ? Heaven avert 

So dire a curse from thee, from Italy, 

From all who share our love ! Oh, rather claim 

A nobler life — heal wisely ; bind in one 

The mangled frame of our dear country, torn 

As Orpheus was of old, rent limb from limb. 

And scattered o'er the wilderness of life ! 

Oh, gather from their long captivity 

The outcasts of our race — our tribes dispersed 

In heart, in life, in all but name and place. 

Till to the question, *' Will ye yet be free, 

Be one in glory as in birth and race ? " 

The answer shall go forth from thousand tongues 

And tens of thousands, " Yes, we will be one 

In nation as in tongue— one 'neath the rule 

Of that great monarch, whosoe'er he be. 

Whom God shall raise among our sons to crown 

Our union, and our freedom to restore." 

We may not live to hear that rapturous cry. 

Yet may we haste its utterance. Oh, be this 

Thy work, be this thy ministry ! 

Alf. I feared 

Thy words, Laodamia, lest their burden 
Should bear me down with memories of a love 
Which fears to live, yet fears still more to die. 
But thou hast touched a chord in which our hearts 
Beat in strange unison. Oh, that my soul 

Scene IV.] 4LF0NS0 PETRUCCI. jg 

Could learn from thine to sacrifice its love 
On the high altar of our country's wrongs ! 
Yet words like these do mind me of my loss, 
And rather bind on me an earthly yoke, 
Than raise my soul to heaven. An angel's voice 
Bids me to rise, yet at that angel's feet 
I sink, unnerved and powerless. Even now 
My earlier love returns. How dare I climb 
To this proud height unless my lifelong guide 
Companions me ? 

Zaod. Yet must thou rise to fill 

A place of glory in our country's annals, 
A glory Siena's lordship could not yield. 
Nor my poor love bestow. I may not follow. 
Yet from my lowly path in this dim world 
My soul shall rise to thee, mine eyes shall gaze. 
Yea, till they fail with looking up to thee — 
To heaven and thee ; for still my heaven art thou ! 
And thou wilt think of me with higher love. 
Such love as angels bear to us who tread 
This lower world ; yea, think of me as one 
Who gave thee this high counsel— all, all else 
Forget for ever ; deem it ne'er has been, 
Thy wrongs, thy grief — 

A//. — But never yet my love-! 




Scene l.—JRome. The apartments of Rinaldo m the 
Vatican. An oratory with altar and n'licifix,^ 
Laodamia kneeling before it. 

Laod. I have no more to give — no second life, 
No higher love ; my lifelong passionday 
Hath brought no Easter-tide. From morn to morn 
I bear my cross, as though the death-strewn path 
To Calvary for me might never end. 
Oh that this heart in its dread loneliness 
Could feel that all "is finished " — fear and doubt. 
And life and love — the tale of grief all told ! 
Yet for a father's sake, a sister's love 

Viol, (entering unobserved). Laodamia ! 

Laod. Oh, why hast thou broken 

My dream of misery ? Why wake me up 
To prove it is not all a dream ? For thee 
I made that sacrifice : for him — for thee. 
Was the frail censer of this heart unhallowed, 
That Heaven rejects it still ? 

Viol. My sister, say, 

What meanest thou ? 

Laod. Alfonso's hate still burns. 

The purple yet may bear the stain of blood ; 
My offering yet be fruitless. 


Viol. Yet for me 

Was that peace-offering made. Oh that thy love 
Had never made it — that it still could live 
To mould Alfonso's life ! Alas ! the feud 
Made now inveterate through the friendship formed 
With the crafty Cardinal de' Medici, 
Hath severed him from thee as from Borghese — 
From all his house, and mine, alas ! still dimmed 
By the dread memories of that day of guilt 
When the great Julian fell. Thou know'st the hate 
Which fires my uncle 'gainst the Medici ; 
How hardly he escaped the avenging blow 
When the fierce Pazzi sowed that seed of blood. 
Whose harvest we have reaped in our sad lives. 
Yet now Alfonso, mindless of the laws 
Of Holy Church, and of the oath he took 
As Cardinal, molests the electors' ears 
With base solicitations, and their souls 
Corrupts with promises of place and power, 
If they but raise the foe of all his race 
To fill the papal throne. 

Rin. {entering in an excited state). There is a fearful 
tumult in the piazza. 
Loud curses load the memory of Julius. 
His buried life is writ in deeds of blood ; 
His memory lives in curses, loudly uttered 
By those his fierce ambition hath bereaved 
Of husbands, sons, and brothers — fruitless seed ! 
Yea, rather, rich with harvest of despair. 
Our Italy, which through a thousand wounds 
Poured out her life blood to cement his throne. 
Now sinks exhausted, prostrate at the feet 
Of tj'rants whose sole power is in her weakness, 


Whose only gain her loss.* But hark ! the crowd 
Surges beneath us j let us gaze on it 
From yonder balcony. 

\A curtain is withdrawn, disclosing an ope7i balcony 
overlooking the great courtyard of the Vatican, 
RiNALDO, with Laodamia and Violante, 
fall back upon it. 
Rin. See this wild scene ! look yonder ! Who is that 
Appearing from the portals of the conclave 
And hasting to the front ? It is Alfonso ! 
With wild excitement he hath thrust aside 
The officers appointed to proclaim 
The future Pontiff. Hear you not his voice ? 

Alf, {from the opposite balcony). The Medici is Pope \ 
Lorenzo's son, 
Great-grandson of the noble Cosimo ! 
Pope by a vote unanimous ! Long live 
The young ! " Vivant vigeantque juniores 1 " f 
Jiin. {coming forward). These fifty years I have been. 
Of the Holy See, yet never saw I such 
A scene as this — the sacred suffrage cast 
Like thing profane upon the populace, 
And trampled under foot. Oh, shame and grief ! 
Alfonso, Cardinal, sworn to secrecy. 
Claiming the guidance of the Holy Ghost 
For this dread work, yet standing forth as prince 

* Guicciardini observes that Julius's memory "was honoured most' 
"by those who held it to be more the duty of the Popes to increase 
the authority of the Apostolic See by warfare and the blood of Chris- 
tians, than to promote it by the example of a good life " (1. xi. ), 

t Leo X. was thirty-seven years old, Petrucci was twenty-six, in 
the year 1513. For the description of this scene, see Palatius in his. 
life of Leo X. 


Of Holy Church proclaiming to the world 
The lust of power and place, the worship of 
A name which soon may shroud in infamy 
The dying glories of his house and race ! 

Alf. (entering and seeing only Laodamia). Laodamia ! 
The game is won. The Medici hath triumphed ; 
Siena may yet be mine ! 

Ein. Are these the words 

Of priest, of bishop,* prince of Holy Church ? 
— Oh, wreck of that high soul which once aspired 
To deeds that would have made thy name immortal. 
Now sunk in guilt and shame, by lust of power 
Degraded, and with base corruption stained ! 

Alf. Rinaldo, this from thee ? Were it not that thou 
Might'st once have been my sire, and still dost bear 
That name for this dear object of my love, 
This arm had laid thee at the feet of him 
Thy words have wronged, of him who scorns thy trade. 
Go preach thy drivelling law pontifical 
To other ears than mine. 

Laod. Alfonso, stay 

Thy guilty wrath, and though I scorn to plead 
The love thou barest me once, I yet would claim 
Thy reverence for the hoary locks that crown 
A father's brow, a worthier diadem 
Than that which thy insatiate pride would snatch 
Even at Pandolfo's grave. 

Alf. Laodamia, 

I have been wild and ra,sh, and though thy speech 
Pierces my heart — and oh, that heart still loves, 
And still can feel this shaft of love's reproach^ 
Forgive me ! 

* Alfonso Petrucci had been made Bishop of Saona. 


Laod. Would that on Borghese's heart 

That pitying glance could fall as now on mine ! 
That the bright day when all our race was one 
Might dawn on us again ! that we might never 
Say with La Pia, " Siena gave us life, 
But the Maremma of revenge and hate 
Unmade what God had wrought."* Thou yet mayst 

That day's glad advent hour, whose morn would spread 
A firmament of peace o'er all our lives. 
Forgive Borghese's wrongs, and make thyself 
Invincible through love, in mercy's realm 
A conqueror and a prince. 

Alf. I was not born ■ 

For saintly crown. The glory that encircles 
The martyr's brow accords not with the hat 
Of Cardinal, called to rule and not to suffer. 
Yet if my soul could change, and love could reign 
In every thought, to thine importunate prayers, 
Not to my will, the heavenly work were due. \_Pauses. 
— Oh, guardian angel of this life of guilt, 
Could I but rise with thee — with thee look down 
Upon this lower world ! Alas, my soul 
Cleaveth unto the dust,f and yet would cling 
Even as the dust unto the feet of her 
Whose love shall be my life's last minister. 
Rinaldo, give me but thy hand, thy blessing ; 

* ' ' Ricorditi di me che son la Pia, 

Siena mi ft, disfece mi Maremma. ' 

Dante, Purg., v. 133. 

f " Adhasit faviinento anima mca.'' 
" Sentii dir lor con si alti sospieri 
Che la parola appena s' intendea." 

Dante, Purg., u. xix. -u. 73. 


Violante, let me learn in loving thee 

To love the brother who hath wronged me most, 

Who twice essayed my life. 

Enter a Messenger. 

But who is this 
Disturber of our privacy ? What message 
Bearest thou from the Conclave ? 

Mess. Eminence, 

The Holy Father, Pontiff now elect, 
Desires thy presence and thine homage claims 
To-morrow in the hall of the Consistory. 

Alf. I will obey the call. 

Laod. Oh, arm thyself 

With high restraint ; let no unwonted joy. 
Like that which fired thee first, betray thee now. 
Be worthy of thy name, and of thy place 
In this great household. Let the Medici 
See that the race they hate is worthy yet 
To reign in Rome, as it hath reigned in Siena. 

Scene II. — The Pope'' s private apartments in the Vatican. 
Leo X. j Raffaello Petrucci. Raffaello is read- 
ing to the Pope the Annals of Florence. 

Leo X. What wondrous words ! as though the Seraph's 
Had touched his lips with fire from off the altar, 
Even as the Prophet's. Read me them again. 
Raff, (reads). " Think, mighty citizens, to what dread 
An evil fortune hath led on our house, 


When even 'midst friends and kindred, yea, and in 
The Church itself, our life was not secure." * 

Leo X. Even of ourselves how true ! This great Basilica, 
The heart and centre of our Christendom, 
May be to me as the Church of the Reparata 
Was to my father — an Aceldama ! 
I know that I am walking o'er the graves 
Of murdered Pontiffs, princes of the Church, 
Actors or victims in the fatal deeds 
Which fill these halls with memories of the slain 
By sword, by poison, or by base intrigue,! 
"Whose souls cry out from 'neath our altar-stones, 
" How long, O God, how long?" Nor faith, nor love, 
Nor conscious innocence can here find place. 
Yet is our trust in God. 

Raff. That vantage-ground 

Is thine alone, for none trusts in Him here. 

Leo X. How can they, when the spirit of the Pazzi 
Lives in their hearts, and fires their frenzied eye ! 
Look at the time-worn Cardinal Riario, 
Friend and accomplice of that dread design ; 
Did not the Pope his uncle, and his friend. 
The tyrant Julius, wage incessant war 
Against our house — invoke the emperor's arms 
To crush the rising liberties of Florence ? 
Read me Lorenzo's words. 

* " Considerate, niagnifici Cittadini, dove la cattiva fortuna aveva 
condotta la casa nostra, che fra gli amici, fra i parenti, nella chiesa 
non era sicura " (Machiavelli, ut mprh], 

t Leo himself is believed to have been poisoned (Eggs, Pontijicium 
Docitwi, pag. 706). Julius II. died of grief and vexation at his 
political reverses. Pius III. is supposed to have been poisoned at 
the instance of Pandolfo Petrucci. Alexander VI. was poisoned in 
his ovi'n attempt to poison the richer Cardinals. 

Scene U.] ALFONSO PETRUCC'l. 27 

Raff, {reads) " Why should they form 

Alliance with the Pope ; league with the King 
Of Naples 'gainst the sacred liberties 
Of this republic ? Wherefore break the long 
Calm peace of Italy ? " * 

Leo X. One only link 

Fails in this chain of treason ! They have got 
No Julius on this throne. No Sixtus builds 
His treacherous plans against- our house. Yet still 
The Kings of France and Naples, yea, the cities 
Free (as they terrtt them) of our Italy, 
For ever prone to shed Italian blood. 
Are leagued against us. Even thy native Siena, 
Scene of our exile, whence we watched the sun 
Rise upon Florence, make her loveliness 
More lovely, while it gilded all her domes. 
As though the heaven itself had blushed to see 
Its glories still surpassed — even Siena now, 
Beneath Pandolfo's rule, Borghese's hate. 
Affianced as he is to a Riario, 
Warns us of hidden danger. 

JRaffi Thou hast touched 

A chord of grief to which my heart responds 
In concord of an anguish deeper still. 
Already bent in weariness of death, 
Pandolfo lies, and prays that his spent life 
May pass away to man's eternal rest, 
Ere he beholds his son a fratricide- 
Era the third stroke of fierce Borghese's knife 
Pierces the breast of him he loves the most, 

* ."Perchfe far lega con il Papa, e con il Re contio alia liberta 
di questa Repubblica? perche rompere la lunga pace d' Ilalia?" 
(Machiavelli, nt supra). 


Yet dreads to see. Alfonso soon will claim 
The licence of your Holiness to leave 
Your Court for a brief season, to attend 
The death-bed of his sire. Oh, grant it not ! 
Reasons of state, and perils scarce foreseen 
By keenest eye, forbid such journey now. 
If once let loose, like tameless beasts of prey. 
The brothers soon would join in fearful onslaught. 
And Siena rise in wild revolt to claim 
Her ancient freedom. 

Leo X. I will heed thy words 

Of wisdom, prudent aye, and opportune, 
And stand forearmed against the treacherous plea 
Of Don Alfonso. But our time is short. 
The homage hour, with bitter memories fraught 
And shrouded in dark prophecies of guilt, 
Approaches. Would that it brought open war, 
Instead of utterance of unfelt devotion ; 
Then should I welcome it. 

Mess. Most Holy Father, 

The Sacred College waits with reverence meet 
For the high presence of your Holiness. 

Leo X. We are prepared ; lead on. \Exe2int. 

■Scene III.^ — Apartments of Riario in the Vatican. 
Cardinal Riario, Violante, afterwards Borghese. 

Viol. My uncle, thou art pale. This homage-day 
Hath been too long for thee. Thy breath seems short ; 
Now rest thee, nor attempt too soon to tell 
The tale of this day's work. 

liia. Loved Violante, 


The music of thy voice brings back my soul 

Into sweet concord with that peaceful life, 

Which, through my downward years of guilt and grief, 

Hath run like placid stream through dark ravine, 

Luring the sunbeam which the towering crags 

Lose in their deep recesses, and reflecting 

The rays that should have lighted first on them. 

But is Borghese here ? I fain would tell 

My weary tale but once. 

Viol. Even now he comes. 

Enter Borghese. 

Ria. The homage of this day bodes ill to all 
Who bear our name. Attended by Raffaello 
The Pontiff entered the Consistory ; 
With proud sardonic smile he gazed around 
And muttered words of welcome. When I knelt 
Before him, with brief speech assuring him 
Of tried fidelity, with bitter smile 
He said, " We do accept this tribute new 
Of the good faith of the Riarii 
To us and all our house." I know not what 
I spake, but what I thought is fresh as when 
It flashed as lightning through my fevered brain. 
It was — I dared not utter it — the wish 
That when the Pazzi struck the uncle down. 
The sire had fallen as well, — that all the race 
Had perished on that day. 

Viol. The Lord absolve thee 

From such dark thought of guilt. But oh, proceed. 
What said the Pontiff" more ? 

Ria. The homages 


Which followed gave worse omen. Soderini 
Implored the Pope to aid his exiled brother 
And order his return to Florence. Vain 
His suit ; the Pontiff coldly turned away ! 
Then proudly rose the Cardinal, his kinsman, 
And muttered words of ill-concealed revenge. 

Viol. It bodes us ill, my uncle ; but speak on. 

Ria. After some speechless greetings, whispered low 
By men who seemed to tremble l^st their voice 
Should echo the dread words their ears had heard 
And their faint hearts affirmed, yet dared not speak, 
Alfonso knelt before the Pope, and sought 
His licence to retire awhile to Siena 
And tend his dying sire. 

Viol. And did the Pope 

Grant his untimely prayer ? 

Ria. With firmer tone 

Than yet had marked his speech, the Pope replied, 
" It may not be. Reasons of state require 
Thy presence now with us, and Siena needs 
Rest from the weary conflict of her sons. 
Thy sire a peaceful death." 'Twas then Alfonso 
Cast on the Pope so fierce a glance, it seemed 
As though the steel he bears beneath his cloak 
Had flashed from out his eyes. What words he spake 
I heard not. But I saw the Pope turn round 
To Don Raffaello and thus speak aside ; 
" I do mislike his words ; they seem to me 
To savour of the treason of the Pazzi. 
Didst ever hear such tones of proud disdain 
Uttered to Sovereign Pontiff? " 

Borg. Would that he 

Would turn upon the hated Medici 


The wrath that once was fiercely turned on us ! 
Dishonoured love begets inveterate hate ; 
Inveterate hate, revenge. Then other hands 
Would do my work — the third stroke better aimed 
Prove fatal. 

Viol. Oh, forbear ) Forgive, kind Heaven, 

That murderous thought ! Alas ! our very prayers 
Are turned to imprecations, and our blessings 
Yield us but curses ; yea, our bitter lives 
Do poison all we love ! Is there no branch 
Of healing we might cast into the waters 
Of this dread strife, to sweeten and to bless ? 

Ria. There is the blessed cross ! but we have lost 
That holy birthright, and its blessing now 
Hath passed from us for ever ! 

Scene IV. — An apartment in the Vatican. Alfonso ; 
SoDERiNi; Saulio. 

Alf, 'Twas but the difference of age and youth, 
Yoimg and old Italy, that severed us ; 
But now the consciousness of common wrong, 
The thirst for common vengeance, makes us one. 

Sau. Said I not that thy prayer would turn again 
To thine own bosom — to the Pope fulfilled 
In blessing ; to thyself, to us, a curse ! 
The young still flourishes, but not in thee — 
Still lives, but not for thee, an4 thou art cast 
On us the aged, as a wave-worn wreck 
Upon a desert coast. In Leo's soul 
Age finds no reverence, youth no sympathy. 
We have a merchant Pope ; mean hucksterer 



For place and power, even as his sire and grandsire, 
Who dazzled Florence with their sordid gifts, 
Till it was blinded to receive their yoke. 
Would that their golden fetters were not forged 
For us as for the Florentines. 

Alf. 'Tis ours 

To break them off us with a stronger hand 
Than that which laid the haughty Julian low. 
This dagger is not borne in vain ! [Produces a dagger. 

Sail, and Sod. {together). Great God ! 

Sod. Dost wear the weapon of a murderer ? 

Sau. The argument of the wild Trasteverini, 
The message of the Pazzi ? * 

Alf. Craven hearts ! 

And did not Brutus gain the patriot's crown 
By tempered steel like this — by mighty heart 
Tempered as was his steel ? yea, sharpened, too, 
With wrongs and insults lighter far than those 
Which give their edge to this ! 

Sod. Insensate boy ! 

Thine untrained youth, which with importunate zeal 
Did raise the Medici to this great throne 
From which his pride hath spurned thee, now would 

His recreant soul with martyrdom, and clothe 
Thine own with infamy ; yea, give a saint 
To that detested house, and add to thine 
A murderer. 

Alf. I would the leach who treats 

The Pontiff for some ailment, could but mix 

* Two of that great family, even in earlier days, had been involved 
in murders — Rinier Pazzi and Camicion de' Pazzi, both placed by 
Dante in his " Inferno" (cant, xii. 137, and xxxii. 68). 


His soothing draught with skill — some potent drug 
Distil in greater strength, some pharmacy 
In over-dose dispense, perchance of purpose, 
Or, haply, by mistake. 

Sau. Forbear, forbear ! 

We dare not hear such speech. Unsay thy words. 
Or teach us to forget them. 

Alf. Wipe them out 

From your weak memories ; suffer not a word, 
A whisper from your lips, a troubled look, 
The mystery of my vengeance to reveal. 
Remember Julian's fate, the Pazzi's dagger. 
The countless paths which in these silent walls 
Have led to fearful death ! \_Exit. 

Sau. How fierce his look ! 

A frenzy of despair distorts his soul. 
Dare we be silent ? 

Sod. Yet how dare we speak ! 

To hide within our breasts the fearful secret. 
Or to reveal it, both were certain death ! 
Seek we the prudent counsel of Riario, 
Skilled in the windings of that maze of guilt 
In which our lives are cast — each treacherous turn. 
Each hidden pitfall. But the time is short ; 
Haste we to meet him ere the ripening plot 
Bears fruits of poison both for thee and me. 

Sau. Thy speech is wise : we dare not waste an hour. 
We have heard more than we can dare conceal, 
Yet how reveal it ? [Exeunt. 




Scene I. — Siena. An apartment in the palace of the 
Petrucci. Pandolfo, lying on a couch, attended 
by BoRGHESE and Violante ; the Archbishop of 
Siena standing by him. 

Pan. {with eyes closed, starting convulsively). It is 
Alfonso's step ! take — take him from me. 
Violante, art thou near me ? Stand between them ; 
Beneath the mantle of the Cardinal 
He hides the dagger.* 

Viol. Father, 'tis not he ; 

Borghese only stands beside thee now. 

Pan. {still with closed eyes, and covering his face with his 
hand). A name of death ! He bore it once who 
A father's name for me ; t he bears it now 

* " Alphonsus . . . pugionem clam in cardinalium 
Conventu ssepius tulisse fertur." 

Palatius in " Vita Leonis X." 
t • " Diventato maggiore Pandolfo potette poco poi fare ammazzare 
il suocero che troppo ardilamente altraversava i suoi disegni " 
(Guicciardini, lix.). 


Who bears the blade which through Alfonso's heart 
Must pierce my own ! Oh, 'tis a name of death ! 

Say you Borghese only stands beside me ? 
It is not he. No, no, my Violante ; 
I see the blood-stain. Murder cannot sleep, 
Nor murdered rest ; in mortal sin he died. 
He fell unshriven ! Look, look ; he rises there ! 
He stands before me ! Now his sightless orbs 
Are turned upon me ! Niccolo Borghese, 
Thou art avenged ! ( Wakes up and continues, after a 

pause) Oh, good Lord Archbishop, 
Thou read'st as in the Prophet's mystic roll 
The secret will of Heaven. Say, can my sons 
Live to bear on the standard of our race 
When this poor hand is cold and stiff in death ? 

Archb. The dying hand should only grasp the cross; 
The standard which thy glorious ancestors 
Bare when they led the soldiers of the faith 
Up to the earthly Sion. They have gone 
Before thee to the City of the King, 
Vision of peace 

Pan. But of despair for me ! 

Archb. Oh, Lord Pandolfo, lift thine eyes to Heaven, 
prom whence cometh thy help. Look not behind. 
And stay not in the plain of these dread thoughts. 
Lest thou reach not the only city of refuge 
For sin-sick souls. Oh, let me give to thee 
The sweet Viaticum. 

Pan. I dare not lift 

My heart to Heaven. My soul in its last throes 
Cleaveth unto the dust, and — to — Alfonso 1 
Poor boy, I loved him once ! 


Borg. (aside to Violante). And loves him still ! 
Violante, is that writing sigrjed ? 

Viol. We sought 

To make him sign it, but in vain ! His hand 
Shook like a leaf in autumn. 

Borg. Yet on that 

Hangs all our future, Haste, and bring it hither. 

Viol. How can I leave him ? 

Borg. Then myself I go. 

Else will he die intestate. Even if sight 
Have failed, his mind is clear ; we yet might guide 
His trembling hand. 

Pan. {awaking to consciousness, but with his eyes still 
closed). Oh, is it my Alfonso ? 
Dear heart ! how like the angel form that bare him,- 
Who, when her love forgave me my great guilt, 
Prayed that my heart might never share her grief, 
Or doubt her faith ! Had she been with us still, 
To kindle with her love our cold spent lives, 
Borghese would have never sought thy life, 
My son, nor thou his birthright ! 

Archb. Oh, be calm. 

Alfonso is not here, and she thou lovedst 
Is now a Saint in heaven, and bids thee rise, 
That where thy treasure is, thy heart may be — 
With her ! 

Pan. With her? Oh, resurrection-life ! 
She lifts me from the grave, I rise, I live, 
Alfonso, is this death ? 

Alf. [enters suddenly). My father, speak ! 
Say — say I am forgiven. 

Pan. Can love say less ? 

Oh, God ! the death-sleep comes 1 \pies. 

.Scene I.] ALFONSO PEtRUCCI. 37 

Borg. (re-entering with a parchment, but not seeing 
Alfonso). Doth he yet live ? 

Archb. Read you not on his face the Unes of death ? 
Oh, pray we for his rest 

Borg, Say you he's dead ? 

And this is yet unsigned ! 

Alf. My signature, 

Perchance, may give it force, ot I might write 
My name as witness that it ne'er was signed. 

Borg. Base felon, from thy papal chain escaped, 
How darest thou break the oath that binds thee to 
The Pope thyself hast made ! 

Archb, Dare you, rash youths, 

Even in this presence-chamber of grim death 
To bandy words of warfare, when the lips 
Of him whose blessing fell on both alike 
Are scarcely cold ? 

Viol. Oh, holy archbishop. 

Forgive their reckless guilt, and raise thy prayers 
For them — for him whose soul in purging flames 
Is now enwrapped. They know not what they say ; 
They dare not what they will ! 

Archb. Poor child, thine heart 

Is all too great for theirs. Of one, at least. 
Thou art the guardian angel. But a troop 
Of sad domestics comes — poor, simple souls ! — 
To do the last sad rites of watchful care 
For him they loved not in his day of life. 
Yet mourn in the night of death. Let us retire. 


Scene II. — The Senate House in Siena. The Secretary 
of the Republic, Borghese, Alfonso, Archbishop, 
Senators, and Citizens. 

Sec. The closing scene of Don Pandolfo's life 
Comes on us sadly, yet not suddenly. 
His day of doom was late ', the shock was ripe, 
Yet unprepared the ground for other seedtime. 
'Tis for yourselves, most noble citizens 
Met in full senate, either to invite 
Another lord to rule ye, or resolve 
To cultivate the field of Siena's glory 
With the skilled hands which sowed in earlier day 
Seed of great deeds whose harvest others reaped. 
Making your sons mere labourers in the field 
Bought with their father's blood. 

Borg. Oh, faithful sons 

Of Siena, can ye hear such words unmoved 
With indignation, uttered o'er the grave 
Of him who was your friend, your counsellor ? 

The Crowd. Our tyrant and our curse ! 

Bo7-g. Say you your curse ? 

Him who with hollow hearts ye blessed in life 
Ye curse amid the awful calm of death — 
Dumb dogs, who dared not bark while yet he lived, 
And now, unmuzzled, bite ! 

The Crowd. The living dog 

Is better than dead lion. 

Borg. Have a care ; 

The lion's heart is here, and growling curs 
May wake it soon to life. 


Alf. Loved citizens, 

If words like these fire not your souls with wrath 
Too deep for utterance, hear me not this day ; 
But if they teach you what my life hath been 
In the hard bondage of this fratricide. 
Who twice hath sought my life, then list to me 
While o'er my father's grave I plead my cause 
And claim my rights. 

Borg. What rights can younger son 

Claim o'er his elder ? 

The Crowd. Hear the Don Alfonso ) 

He hath been ever proved the people's friend. 

Alf. My utterance must be short. In yonder palace 
Death "reigns supreme. Beneath the dim horizon 
Which hedges in our life, my sire's hath fallen ; 
But as though highest Heaven had interposed 
To make his glorious countrymen his heirs. 
His wiU is yet unsigned. Whate'er that will 
Appointed is as void as though it ne'er 
Were writ. 

Borg. False traitor to thy name and race. 
Thou liest ! This sacred testament, declared 
In the presence of the Lord Archbishop's grace. 
Proclaims me as his heir. 

Sec. Produce the will. 

We have legal experts here whose skill might test it. 

Borgh. Perish your experts ! My great father's will. 
Writ by the sword, doth need the sword alone 
As its interpreter. 

Alf. That key to read 

Unwritten law is ours, not less than yours ; 
And we may claim it too. 

Sec. Most noble sirs, 


Our Senate meets for higher work than this. 
'Tis for this great assembly to determine 
If they will have another lord to rule 
In Siena, or will here resume and now 
The ill-deputed charge. Are any here 
For Don Borghese ? Any to propose 
The Lord Alfonso, Prince and Cardinal 
Of Holy Church? 

A voice. I claim your suffrages 

For the true heir, Borghese. 

Another. And I ask 

Your votes for Don Alfonso — tried and true. 
The people's friend. 

Archb. And I, as legate born 

Of the Apostolic See, propound the will 
Of the chief Pontiff, that the heritage 
Of Lord- Pandolfo, forfeit through the guilt 
And conflict of his sons, shall now devolve 
On Don Raffaello, brother of Pandolfo, 
Their natural uncle. His supreme decree 
I here produce, and in his name declare 
The Lord Raffaello lord and prince in Siena ! 

Sec. And I, this Senate's representative 

And secretary, set aside thy claim, 
Annul thy suit, pronounce it openly 
Void and of none effect ; and I do here 
Suspend this sitting till the funeral rites 
Of Don Pandolfo have been solemnized, 
And we can meet, unbribed and unconstrained. 
To claim our rights, as only lawful heirs 
Of our intestate|_lord. 

\The assembly breaks up in confusion. 


Scene III. — A chamber lighted with numerous tapers. 
The coffin of Don Pandolfo in the centre, surrounded 
by attendants watching. Alfonso ; Borghese. 

Alf. Faithful retainers of our father's house, 
For a brief season we would be alone 
In this dark scene of death. 

Borg. Let us, my friends. 

Relieve your pious watch, that ye may rest 
While we, with saddened hearts, do meditate 
O'er this dear corpse. 

Attendants. We will retire, my lord. 

\Exeunt Attendants. 

Alf. Brother — unwonted word, yet not unblessed. 
When uttered o'er his corpse to whom we owe 
Our life, our name, our race !— too long our heai^ts 
By bitter rivalry and causeless hate 
Have been asunder rent. Now, as we stand 
At the dread portal of a father's grave, 
Oh, let the past be past, our hatred sheathed 
In love or mild forgetfulness of wrong. 
For us, our sire lives still. Raffaello's claim 
Insults his name and birthright From the grave 
That voice which oft hath called us to the field 
Now summons us to vengeance ; bids us list 
'Neath the same banner — soldiers, friends, and brothers. 

Borg. I joy to hear thee claim a brother's name, 
Even though the sympathy of a common hate 
Were all that joined our hearts. And yet, Alfonso, 
Time was when, in the innocence of youth 
And in the simple bond of childlike faith, 
Unenvying and unenvied, we were one. 


In every feat of arms, or martial game, 

We were competitors ; yet love was still 

The prize for which we fought, the crown we won. 

Oh, 'twas an evil day in which I writ 

Upon thy breast the record of my guilt, 

And of thy wrong — alas ! yet unforgiven. 

Alf. Oh, deem it now atoned, or rather read it 
As covenant of peace, witness of love. 
Writ with a brother's blood. 

Borg. 1 will, I will ; 

For with one word thy love hath gently stanched 
The deeper wound of guilty consciousness 
Of such fell deed. Give me thine hand as pledge 
Of faith renewed. 

Alf. I will ; yet were it ill 

To yield these moments, sacred to stern thought, 
Even to the accents of returning love! 
Raffaello hath usurped our heritage. 
And the base Medici, who owes his throne 
To me, casts off the allegiance of my faith. 
Spurns from his feet the friend who raised him up 
Even from the dust ; but his vile life shall pay 
The forfeit of his treachery ! 

Borg. I hate, 

Like thee, the Pope and all his merchant crew, 
And fain would see Riario on the throne 
His uncle filled, who loved our sire so well 
And was his trusted friend. Yet were it ill 
To waste our wrath on him. I care but little 
Who reigns in Rome j my war-cry is but this — 
The foul usurper ne'er shall reign in Siena. 

Alf. Yet musth& reign, while reigns in Rome the Medici 
That reign must first be closed. 

Borg. ' What meanest thou ? 


Alf. Wouldst thou dry up the stream ? Quench first 
the source. 
Or kill the tree ? Cut off its hidden root. 
Dethrone Raffaello ? First dethrone the Pope 
Who raised him up to cast thee in the dust. 

Borg. I dare not follow thee in path like this. 
Base as he is, he is the successor 
Of Peter, God's vicegerent. I would wage 
Incessant war against his temporal reign ; 
Invoke the powers of heaven and earth to join 
To drive him from our Italy, to force him 
To prove his kingdom is not of this world, 
His weapons not from hence ; yet ne'er could I 
Lift up my hand to take his life. Great God ! 
My arm would wither up ; my heart would fail. 
He is the Lord's anointed. 

Alf. Weak in heart, 

And weak in memory too ! Hast never read 
How many a fabled successor of Peter 
Hath gently slept his poisonous life away 
Through potent drug by friendly hand dispensed ? 
Did not the Borgia, but a few years hence. 
Drink the empoisoned cup by skilful hand 
Mixed, but by hand less prudent ministered ? 
Mine be that skill, while thy revenge o'ertakes 
The fell usurper in the open field 
Thy warlike soul loves best. 

Borg. My work is clear. 

I haste this day to claim the proffered aid 
Of the King of Naples ; from his Court I pass 
To the Most Christian King, whose eager hate 
Seeks a just pretext for long-threatened war 
With Florence and the Medici. 

Alf. 'Twere well 



That I should wait thee here, and watch the game 

By Doji Raffaelo played. \A Messenger enters. 

Messenger. His Holiness 

Charged me to give this brief into your hands, 
Lord Cardinal, and command your swift return. 
Your absence is unlicensed, and the needs 
Of Church and State require your Eminence 
To speed your course to Rome. 

Alf. {reads the brief). Go, tell your master 

Our Court at Siena needs our presence more. 

But {Aside) I must needs dissemble. {To the 

Messenger) I obey. 
Borghese, 'tis for thee to plead our cause 
In Siena ; mine to vindicate our rights 
Even at the fountain-head of guilt and wrong, 
At Rome ! [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — A public place in Siena. Two Citizens. 

i^^ Cif. What these wild shouts ? this crowding in the 
streets ? 
This rush to gain the Senate house ? 

2nd Cit. I marvel 

That thou hast heard not. Raffaello came 
This morn from Rome, to take his place among 
The mourners at his brother's funeral — 
Came with the papal brief which made him heir 
To Siena's lordship ; with the ensigns, too. 
Of Cardinal (for the Pope to force his claim 
Hath raised him to the purple), and with train 
Of followers armed, and (as it seemed) prepared 
To fright away or else to quell resistance. 


But scarce had he arrived before the gates, 
Which the vast crowd assembled to behold 
The dreary pageant made impassable, 
When such a rush was made on every side 
That he was forced to beat a quick retreat. 
The furious throng pursuing, and dividing 
Between the living tyrant and the dead 
Such threats and curses as were never heard 
Uttered o'er vilest bandit. 

Tst at What befel 

The funeral-car and its long cavalcade 
Of mourners hired to mourn ? 

ind Cit. They sped their way 

Into a by-street leading towards the back 
Of the cathedral, and the angry crowd 
Cared not to follow. 

\st Cit. But the bell that calls 

The senators sounds from the Campanile. 

■znd Cit. Thy fears have given it voice ; I hear it not. 

\st Cit. Can it be Don Pandolfo's funeral bell ? 
Yet that would be of deeper tone. Again 
I hear it. From the Senate house it sounds ! 

■2nd Cit. Thou hast a sharper ear than mine. That note 
Must haste our steps, if we would stem the tide 
Which pours from every street and lane to meet 
In wildest concourse in the market-place. 
Moments are days ; our freedom soon must be 
Weighed in the balance 'gainst a tyrant's claim. 
A single vote may turn the trembling scale. 
Oh, let us haste our steps ; the surging crowd 
Will soon close o'er our path. The bell hath ceased ! 





Scene I. — Rome. An apartment of CAimit^Ai, Riario 
the Vatican. Alfonso; Riario. 

Ria. Forget that he was born a Medici ; 
In the ascent to the Pontifical throne, 
Name, race, and all the accidents of birth 
Are lost, or pale as dim and distant lights, 
In that exceeding glory. 

Alf. Foolish thought ! 

And deem'st thou that he will so soon forget 
That thou art a Riario ; that thine uncle, 
Even though he sate on Peter's sacred throne. 
Joined with the Pazzi in their bold attempt 
To stamp out from the earth his name and race ? 
Will he forget that thou wert leagued with those 
Who bore the avenging knife when Julian fell ? 

Ria. Why lead my steps, fast verging on the grave. 
To that dread charnel-house ? Oh, let the past 
Be past indeed ! 

Alf. And is the present, then, 

Fraught with no dangers ? Is our future life 
Peaceful and cloudless as the summer's sky ? 
Seest thou not that he only bides his time 
To strike, whilst thou art creeping to the grave. 
Or lowly crouching to receive the blow ? 


Oh, prove thy right to bear a glorious name,* 
Which else shall live but in the lying page 
Of hated Machiavel. 

Rici- Young man, thy words 

Fall on mine ear like voices from the dead, 
Bringing back memories of a grisly past. 
Oh, shut them up within thy breast, and spare 
This frame, fast sinking in the calm of death 
And craving only peace. 

Alf. ■ And wouldst thou seek 

Peace at the price of honour — endless shame 
For a few hours of base inglorious rest ? 

Ria. Forbear, and force me not, by that firm oath 
We took to guard the Pontiff's sacred life 
And to reveal its dangers, to disclose 
Thy words of hideous guilt. 

Alf. If thou but breathe 

One word, the dagger which must pierce his breast 
Shall first be sheathed in thine. 

Ria. Impetuous youth, 

Think'st thou that I, a Roman, fear to meet 
A Roman's death ? Alas ! the assassin's knife 
In Rome may meet our breast at every step, 
The poisoned cup approach our lips in house 
Of friends — accustomed hospitality. 
Sheathe, then, thy dagger, or go forth to join 
The wild Trasteverini in their strifes, 
And dare not to a prince of Holy Church 
Disclose a bandit's guilt. 

* The origin of the Riario family is rather obscure. Raffaello 
Riario was the son of Antonio Sansone by Violante Riario, the near 
relation of Pope Sixtus IV. That Pope adopted him as a nephew, 
and enjoined on him the assumption of the name and arms of Riario. 


Alf. Thy words are brave ; 

Yet, if thou prize the few fast-running sands 
Of thy life's glass, be voiceless as the grave, 
Which else will close on thee before thy time, 
To teach eternal silence. \Exit. 

Scene II. — Apartments of Alfonso. Alfonso ; Ver- 
CELLi. Antonio at a table, writing. 

Alf. How fares the Holy Father? 

Ver. If the fears 

And anxious cares that load a Pontiff's life 
Could find relief, I ween he would fare well. 

Alf. But hath he cause for fear ? 

Ver. Your Eminence 

Must better know than I do. On the day 
Of the Consistory, an ague chill 
Came o'er him, and a flush of heat, like that 
Which Romans kriow too well, succeeded it. 

Alf. Yet simplest remedies might well reduce 
Such symptom — some narcotic wisely mixed. 
Producing welcome sleep. What think'st thou, doctor ? 

Ver. I dare not treat his case, as I might treat 
The poor Trasteverine's, whose vile frame 
I might experiment upon ; yea, prove 
The strength of poisonous drugs to test their use. 

Alf. Yet have the Medici a charmed life. 
No Roman, like Lorenzo, could have braved 
The Pazzi's dagger, or outlived its wound ; 
And nerves like these, when weakened and unstrung, 
Do need strong remedies. Dost heed my meaning ? 


Ver. Strong remedy might kill ; mere soothing draught 
Bring short relief. A middle course were better \ 
And that would best sustain his confidence 
In us, and best prolong a life which yet 
May yield a fruitful harvest to our skill. 

Alf. Yet in a field where patient care and skill 
Too oft is unrewarded, and tried service 
Meets cold neglect or base ingratitude, 
The harvest of thy skill may yet be reaped 
By other hands than thine. 

Ver. What means my lord ? 

Alf. Plain speech were dangerous. And yet the 
That if the Pazzi in an earlier day, 
Instead of rushing madly to the slaughter, 
Had mixed the — the — the bowl of aconite 
Or deadly henbane, they had reigned in Florence, 
And Rome had never seen a Medici. 

Ver. Yet oft the poisoned cup hath missed its aim. 
As in the Borgias' case. 

Alf. 'Twas ill conceived ; 

They overreached themselves. The poisoned wine 
Was sent too soon. Such half-begotten crimes 
Die in the birth ; the finished work alone 
Is crowned with honour. 

Ver. Yet if it should fail ? 

Alf. It cannot fail, unless the recreant heart 
Fail first, the hand unnerved refuse its work. 
Fortune, like willing slave, waits on success 
And crowns its finished work. {In an undertone) The 

half-wrought deed 
Of Florence must be finished here in Rome. 
Dost understand my meaning ? 



Ver. For myself, 

If I had planned that work I would have wrought it 
With better skill than his who weakly shrank 
From the death-deed, and saved Lorenzo's life. 
And yet their fate who rushed to that dark fray 
Untimely, and were all red-handed seized. 
And paid the forfeit of their guilt, might daunt 
The bravest of their followers. Nor the rank 
Of Salviati, nor Riario's power. 
Saved from dread death the greatest of the least 
Who fell before the avenging Florentines. 

Alf. And did not even the arch-conspirator. 
The Pope, die calmly in his bed ? Riario, 
His nephew, sworn accomplice — doth he not 
Live on in hoary age ? Thank Heaven, in Rome 
We have no servile Florentines to mourn 
A tyrant's death, or to avenge his fate ; 
Nor need to meet in church or open street 
The destined victim. Gentler means are ours, 
Such as thy skill may better find than mine. 
Yet must the deed be done ! 

Ver. And done by me ? 

Alf. By thee. (Aside) Be this thy fee for this brief hour 
Of consultation. \Places a purse in his hand secretly. 

Va: {aside). How can I accept. 
Yet how refuse ? On either side is death ! 
I would seek leisure to reflect. My veins 
Feel as though fire, instead of mortal blood. 
Were leaping through them, while my nerves are strained 
As though the very cords of life would burst. 
What have I said ? what done ? I must away. 
For now the Pontiff" claims my services. 
My work fulfilled, I will return to thee, 


Lord Cardinal, and seek thy presence here. 
{Aside, and glancing doubtfully towards Antonio) But let 
us talk alone ! 

Scene III. — An apartment in the Vatican. LAODA^riA 
and Violante {entering together, the former, in great 
excitement, leaning on the latter). 

Laod. Oh, I am wild. My brain is whirling round ; 
A tempest rages round me, and a gulf 
Is opening at my feet. Friend, sister, guide, 
Oh, whither canst thou lead me ? 

Viol. What new grief — 

What greater grief than that we both have shared. 
Hath fallen, can fall on us ? 

Laod. As I passed through 

Yon corridor, a messenger disguised 
Placed this within my hand. I know not why 
I took it from him. Could it be for me ? 
I read one word, and then a blinding film 
Came o'er my sight, for oh, that word was death ! 
Read it, and if thou canst, interpret it. 

Viol. Oh, calm thyself, and I will read. Fear not 

The wildest threat 

Laod. Read, read ; I will be calm ! 

Viol, (reads). " If Don Alfonso's life is dear to thee. 
Know that that life must perish in the storm 
Which soon must burst o'er all his house and thine. 
Unless thou save it. Unto thee alone 
This lot is given ; but thy protecting hand 
Must seek its guidance from the hand that writes 
These words of warning. Meet me at the hour 


Of midnight' in the place where this is given thee. 
Be cautious, for a double guard is placed 
At the entrance of the corridor. Fail not, 
And all may yet be well. But come alone ; 
No witness must be near, or all is lost." 

Laod. Each word is as a dagger to my heart, 
And strikes it in the dark. What can I do ? 
Were it not that the shadows of the past 
Fall o'er my path, and gather in the distance. 
Shrouding the sunset of our fading lives 
Ere they go down in night, these words would read 
But as a meaningless attempt to fright 
A woman's heart. But I have nought to fear. 
And only one to love — and my poor life 
Might well be given for his. 

Viol. Alas ! my sister, 

Such words are no mere threat. In these dark walls. 
Whose every stone might tell a tale of blood. 
No heart is faithful, save the heart that bears 
Deathless tradition of some ancient wrong 
Or pent-up vengeance. All — all else is false ! 
From other men, in other scenes, to obey 
Such mandate would be madness ; but in Rome 
To treat its warning with contempt might be 
E\-en worse than madness — death ! 

Laod. I know not which 

In this dread hour to choose — madness or death. 
The one would veil us with unconsciousness 
Of present ills, yet leave the comedy 
Of life around us ; while the other brings 
The welcome sentence of eternal sleep, 
'\^'hich even the dream of life can vex no more. 
But what must now be done ? 


Viol. One only way 

Reveals itself in this dark hour of need. 
Thou must seek first Alfonso ; lay before him 
This letter ; tell him that you have resolved 
To face this nameless one, be he friend or foe ; 
Then ask him, in some near recess concealed. 
To guard thy life from danger. At some sign 
Agreed on, summon him to shield thy life 
And guard his own, by this strange missive warned 
Of coming danger. 

Laod. Prudent is thy counsel. 

And well and timely given. But one more boon 
I ask of thee — that thou companion me 
On this dread errand ; aid me to explain 
The hidden mystery of these threatening words, 
Our duties and our fears. 

Viol. I go with thee. 

Haply we may o'ertake him as he passes 
From the Consistory. 

Laod. Lead — lead me to him ! \E,xeimt. 

Scene IV. — A corridor in the Vatican, dimly lighted. 

Enter Laodamia, with a lamp, A Stranger, concealed 
in a mantle. 

Laod. I know not whom in this dark midnight hour 
And this strange place I meet. Whoe'er thou art. 
Stranger, I have trusted thee ; it is for thee 
To prove I am not rash. Tell me thy mission. 
And let thy words be brief. 

Stranger. My naijie, my office 


Is not unknown to thee. Of Don Alfonso 
I am the secretary. 

Laod. What ! Antonio ? 

Ant. {throwing off his mantle). The same ! 

Laod. Great God ! what mean these fearful words ? 
Explain— interpret them ! 

Ant. My master's life 

Hangs on a word — a breath. 

Laod. What meanest thou ? 

Ant. He is engaged in a conspiracy 
To slay the Sovereign Pontiff. 

Laod. Never — never ! 

It cannot be. Some wretch hath been suborned 
To swear away his life. 

Ant. That wretch is here, 

If the possession of these fatal proofs 
Brand him as traitor or as perjurer. 

Laod. Antonio, thou hast known him for long years ; 
Thou knowest that every secret of his heart 
Is writ upon his lips. And darest thou say, 
Impetuous, bold, and reckless though he be. 
That he could harbour murderous plan or thought 
Of secret treason ? e'er could lift his hand 
Or aim a shaft against the Lord's anointed — 
Even the great Pontiff whom his suffrage raised 
To Peter's throne, his voice was first to acclaim ? 
Go, tell thy tale to other ears than mine. 
If this be all its burden. 

Ant. Lady, hear me ! 

This paper, signed by Don Alfonso's hand. 
Proves his dread guilt, and bears the signature 
Of Don Vercelli. 

Laod. What ! the Pope's physician ? 


What name shall we hear next ? It may be, even 
The Donna Maddalena's. Merciful Heaven, 
What life is safe in Rome ? 

Ant. Be calm ; for else 

These proofs of guilt, which but one word of thine 
Might doom to swift destruction, must survive 
To bring worse doom on him whom once thou lovedst. 

Laod. And still, still love ; not now as once I loved, 
Yet love as sister — bride of heaven and him ! 
But I have been too hasty. Speak : what word 
Of mine can save his life ? 

Ant. If but that word 

Which once, with deeper than a sister's love, 
Passed from thy heart to his, but now to him 
May never more be uttered, could but fall 
On mine, my life were blessed, his life secure ! 

Laod. And darest thou, miscreant, claim my love as 
For Don Alfonso's life ? For that I would 
Lay down my own. But my first love and last 
Is offered up to God ; upon the shrine 
Of his dear love who might not share it here 
It rests, until it lives again in heaven, 
Divorced no more for ever ! 

Ant. Yet bethink thee. 

Long have I served thy house. Alfonso owes 
To me the power his name hath gained in Siena. 
When he claimed thee as his affianced one, 
I loved thee with a brother's love ; when he 
Could love thee but as brother, then my heart 
Aspired to higher claim. I dared to hope 
That I might fill the place in thy fond heart 
Which once was his. I dared to think that I, 


Whose tried fidelity was known and prized 

By him thou lovedst the most, might find from thee 

The glance of pity ; that that glance might yet 

Shine on, until it brightened into love. 

Oh, say at least you hate me not, for then 

You yet may pity me — may love me yet ! 

Laod. I never hated what I ne'er could love, 
And never pitied what my inmost soul 
Could only scorn. Be this my last reply ! 

Ant. Lady, 'twere well that thou shouldst guard thy 
The life thou lovest is in the hand of him 
Whose love thou now hast spurned. At least, his 

Thou darest not to despise. 

Laod. Vengeance belongs 

To God alone. My cause is in His hands ; 
To Him I now commend it — and Alfonso's. 

Ant. Oh, even in stern rejection beautiful, 
I would that thou couldst hate me, if one spark 
Of love could spring from the ashes of thy hate 
To make me feel that thou rememberest me ! 
Let me, at least, adore thee ! \Kneels and takes her hand. 

Laod. Ho ! Alfonso ! 

Alf. {appearing from a recess behind). Monster, fall 
back ! kneel, if thou wilt, to God, 
To seek His pardon for thy treacherous guilt. 
Kneel to the master whom thou wouldst betray. 
Kneel to the Pope who would reward thee better 
Than this angelic one, whom heaven itself 
Hath interposed to save ! 

Ant. ' Lord Cardinal, 

Thy life is in my hands. This scroll attests 
Thy treason 


Alf. And thy shameless perfidy, 

Or rather thine invention. 

Ant. It was writ 

At thy dictation, signed by Don VercelH 
And by thyself. Could proof be made more plain ? 
My part was only to record thy words 
And be their faithful witness. 

Alf. I defy thee 

To prove the words thy lying pen hath writ. 
Give me the scroll. 

Ant. I give thee first my life. 

Alf. I do accept thy gift ; and thus the scroll 
Shall perish with its witness at one blow ! 

\Seizes Antonio. They struggle, and the latter falls. 

Enter three Pontifical Guards. 

Guard. Seize them ! Within the Apostolic Palace 
Conflict with arms is criminal. 

Alf. I dare you 

To touch me. As a prince of Holy Church, 
None but an officer who bears a warrant 
From the Pope himself can order mine arrest. 

Guard. Here is his order, duly signed and sealed, 
And countersigned by the Master of the Palace. 

\Shows the order to Alfonso. 

Alf. It bears the signet of the Fisherman ; 
I must obey. But first let me conduct 
This noble lady to her own apartment ; 
Then will we follow you. 

Guard. Your Eminence 

May trust to us as we to you. We do 
Accept your pledge. From you, Messer Antonio, 


We claim these papers, and must seal them here. 
Their mysteries must be solved by keener wits 
Than ours. Firm hands and true and faithful hearts 
Are all that we can claim. God give thy soul 
A good deliverance ! 

Ant. Lead on ; I follow. 




Scene I. — The Consistory. Leo X., surrounded by the 
Cardinals' Secretaries and officials at a table in 
front of the Pope* 

Leo X. I have convoked you, venerable brothers, 
Thus suddenly, through urgency of need 
For your high counsel. Treason walks abroad— 
Not stealthily, as in the day when crime 
Hid its dread aspect from the public gaze, 
But with the proud disguise of patriotism ; 
And those who stand the nearest to our throne 
Are leagued against our life. A murderous plot, 
A foul conspiracy, whose roots are spread 
Even in this Senate, hath revealed itself. 
But the high Providence which in earlier day 
Preserved for Rome the glory of the world 
Hath succoured us, and saved this sacred throne, 
Built on the ruins of its world-wide power, f 
These papers, records of the hideous crime. 
And tracking every tortuous path of guilt, 

* The scene here presented is briefly described by Guicciar- 
dini, 1. xiii. 

t ' ' Ma I'alta Provvidenza che con Scipio 
Difese a Roma la gloria del mondo ._;.■' 
Soccorra tosto si com' io concipio.-" 

Dante, Farad., c. xxvii. z/. 61. 


Have fallen into our hands. The proofs are here ; 

\Produces the papers. 
And he who planned a guiltless Pontiff's death 
Stands now before your eyes. 

Enter Alfonso, between two Pontifical Guards. 

" How long wilt thou 
Abuse our patience, and thy maddened rage 
Elude our vigilance ? Quousque tandem ? 
Doth not the nightly watch in this our palace, 
Fear of the people, concourse of good men. 
This Senate's sacred scene, these hoary hairs. 
Move thee to shame ? " Alfonso, Cardinal, 
Prince of the Church, and nephew of the friend 
Whom most I love, whose care hath saved my life 
From thy foul treason, I proclaim thee here 
Traitor to God, and to His holy Church 
An alien ; from the tree of life cut off. 
As withered branch ; of all thy rights deprived ; 
Disgraced, degraded, excommunicate ! 

Alf. Your Holiness needs better proof than this 
Of such unnatural guilt ; and I do here 
Appeal as from the Pontiff ill-informed 
To the same Pontiff better taught and schooled 
To judge so hard a cause.* Was it not I 
Who raised thee to this pinnacle of power? 
And can mine be the traitor's arm that now 
Would cast thee from it ? Let my noble uncle 
The Don Raffaello say, if say he dare, 

* "Receptum est, a Sede.ApostolicS, appellari ... ad eamdem 
Sedem Apostolicam melius informatam "(" Van Espen,"Part i. tit. jv. 
i;. ii. sect. 12). 


That e'er I uttered threat or word of guilt 

(I say not murder) in his hearing ; prove, 

If prove he can, that writings forged and false, 

Even though they feign my seal and signature. 

Can be my work. Is such guilt probable ? 

Is it even possible, as against the prince 

AVho owes to me his throne — the power to bless 

And heal with mercy, or with curse to blast 

As it would blast me now. The wretch who builds 

His sordid fortune on his master's loss 

Is not the man who boldly pleads his cause 

Before your Holiness, nor fears to meet 

The traitor who would rise but by his fall. 

Leo X. I dare not trust myself to hear thee farther. 
Lest the weak heart of him who loved thee once 
Should stay the hand of justice. Leave our presence, 
And we will weigh your words and these dread proofs 
In even balance. Guards, remove your prisoner ! 

[Exeunt Guards with Alfonso. 
To sift this evidence with legal skill. 
By the stern rules of our Pontifical law, 
Befits not our high office. We remit 
The cause, with all its facts and incidents. 
To our tried prefect, Mario Perusco,* 
Chief judge of all our causes criminal. 
On whose report, maturely weighed, must rest 
The changeless judgment of this Holy See. [Pauses, 

But now a yet more painful task remains. 
Not only the young members of our Senate 
Are leagued against us, but the ancient men. 
The elders of our Israel, princes of 

* This reference of the case to a civil judge provoked the protest 
of the Spanish ambassador in the interests of the foreign Cardinals. 


This holy Congregation. This dread paper 

Records their names. I dare not trust mine eye 

To scan them, or my lips to utter them ; 

I close in grief the page. But in the name 

Of God and Holy Church, we summon all 

Who may be present here, and cite all those 

Who from this high Consistory are absent, 

If they are conscious of this hidden crime, 

And knowing it, concealed its treason-guilt, 

To kneel before us, and repentant claim 

Our high indulgence, and impunity 

From the dread penalty that falls on those 

Who fail to guard the Pontiff's sacred life. \Pauses. 

And now, on pain of excommunication, 

We do enjoin strict silence for a space. 

That ye may judge your hearts and purge yourselves 

From this dark crime. Now only is the time 

Accepted ; now the day of your salvation. 

\A solemn silence ensues, in the midst of which 
Cardinal Riario comes forward and kneels 
before the Pope. 

Ria. First among those who heard the direful threats 
Uttered by Don Alfonso, and who failed 
Through fear their guilty purpose to disclose, 
I kneel before your Holiness, and pray 
Your mercy for my frailty. Age and grief. 
Twin guides which help me onward to the grave. 
Have made my strength to fail me. They alone 
Must plead for me, and cover my great guilt ! 

Leo X. {raising him). I do forgive thee ! Go, and sin 
no more ; 
Thy late confession not too late atones 
For silence which would else be base connivance. 

[Cardinal Soderini kneels before the Pope. 


What ! Soderini ? kinsman * Florentine ! 
Alas ! our foes are those of our own household. 
Whom can we trust ? 

Sod. Before your Holiness 

I kneel to claim the mercy thou hast granted 
To Don Riario. We were one, alas ! 
In knowledge of these threats, but fear of death 
Held back the power of speech. Yet had we known 
That threats had ripened into plans of guilt, 
Our utterance had returned. 

Leo X. 'Tis well for thee 

That it returns this day. Thou art forgiven ! 
But thou. Lord Cardinal Bandinello Saulio, 
Involved more deeply in this dark design. 
Must wait the judgment of thy brethren, ere 
We can include thee in this welcome word 
Of high absolving grace. We meet to-morrow 
In fullest senate, and thus give thee time 
To perfect thy defence. But for to-day 
Our task is done. Let the Prothonotary 
Declare this high Consistory dissolved. 

Scene IL — The prison. Alfonso; Laodamia. 

Laod. Oh that my deathless love 
Could be the ransom of thy life, my tears 
Blot out the writing of thy guilt ! Alas ! 
They have but writ thy sentence. But for me, 
Antonio might have yielded up the proofs 

* The mother of Soderini was Dianora Tornabuona, the near 
relation (probably sister) of the famous Lucrezia Tornabr.ona, the 
grandmother of Leo X. 


Of that dark interview. I sought to shield, 

But I have pierced thee ; strove to save from death, 

But I have slain thee. 

Alf. Speak ! What meanest thou ? 

Laod. Had I but met that monster's base advance 
With prudent self-control, and gained from him 
That fatal scroll, I might have saved thy life. 
I was too rash, too proud ; I could not bear 
To hear him speak of me as one he loved. 
I could have been his slave to save thy life. 
But never loved another life than thine. 

Alf. Oh, goad me not to madness. Even the thought 
Of that dark midnight hour which saw him kneel 
Before thee is a dagger to my soul. 
Sharper than traitor's knife or Pope's revenge. 

Laod. Yet was the charge he laid against thee keener 
Than murderer's blade, direr than papal curse. 
Alfonso, tell me that that roll was forged — 
That those dread papers were false witnesses 
Suborned by him ! 

Alf. His treason were the same, 

If they were false or true. 

Laod. Oh, leave me not 

That poor alternative. Say they were false. 
And let me keep my faith. 

Alf. 'Twere hard indeed 

To tell thee what they were, for truth is oft 
So mixed with falsehood that the keenest wit 
Might scarce divide them. It may be that much 
Was writ that I spake lightly, much set down 
That I had never said. 

Laod. Yet how canst thou 

Explain that fatal compact, pledging thee 


To give reward to him whose traitorous hand 
Fulfilled some unnamed deed ? 

Alf. Such unnamed deeds 

Live only in the thoughts of him whose tongue 
Can give them place and name. Let the vile slaves 
Who hover round the Court interpret them. 

Laod. Canst thou thus tamper with thy life, and rack 
With doubts even worse than death this martyred love ? 
Say — art thou guilty ? art thou innocent ? 
There is no middle course. I seem to stand 
As in the purging flames ; I wait for thee 
To pray me out of fires, oh, worse than those 
Of guilt unshriven. 

Alf. Oh, loved one, could my cause 

Be tried by thee, thy true unswerving faith 
Would prove me innocent. For if to plan 
A tyrant's death were crime, then war itself. 
Even for our holiest rights or bitterest wrongs, 
Would be but murder, wholesale, manifold. 
Which yet men crown with glory. 

Laod. Oh, Alfonso, 

Thy- passion wrongs thine heart ; the insatiate lust 
For vengeance tramples out each holier thought. 
It was not thus thou spakest when this fond heart 
Owned thee its lord ; it was not thus thou spakest 
When to a higher life this widowed love 
Surrendered thee. I feared not for thee then ; 
But now, how can I fear not ? Leave, oh, leave me 
The creed of my first love — the faith that thou. 
Even 'neatli the cloud which veils thy soul from mine. 
Art still the being that I loved at first, 
And, ah ! must love for ever. If thou art guilty. 
May God forgive thee ! We are guilty all ; 



Yet will I still believe thine innocence. 

And pray that my first faith may be my last. 

Tfiere are some crimes which even to hardened guilt 

Can be scarce possible, and such is that 

Which they have laid on thee. 

Alf. I grudge thee not 

That fond belief ; and if thy love distrust 
My guilt, and can survive the traitor's fate 
Which now o'erhangs me, I shall rest in peace, 
And shall not die unblest. 

Laod. O faith ! O hope ! 

How weak are ye to struggle with the doubts, 
The fears that rack my soul ! Yet bear me onward. 
And Thou, the Lord of all, supremely throned 
O'er the wild conflicts of this lower world. 
Teach my unconquered heart to live, to die 
In the true faith that he I loved on earth 
Is innocent — to write that word of faith 
Even upon my grave. 

Alf. Oh, saintly one, 

I loved thee once, but now my love is changed 
To adoration. If I may not live 
In heaven with thee, I yet will worship thee, 
And thou wilt light for me that darkening gulf 
From which I may not rise. Farewell for ever ! 

Scene III. — The Apartments of Donna Maddalena in 
the Vatican. Laodamia; Maddalena. 

Laod. Oh, Donna Maddalena, thy young heart, 
Though it may ne'er have felt the stroke of grief, 
Can feel the touch of pity. 


Mad. What new sorrow, 

Poor child, hath fallen on thee ? 

Laod. Alas ! the doom 

Which on Alfonso falls, with heavier weight 
Must fall on me. 

Mad. My child, what meanest thou ? 

Laod. I was betrothed to him in earliest years. 
I loved him ; in dark hour, by base intrigue. 
He was snatched from me. Don Borghese feared 
His rivalry in Siena, and Pandolfo 
I^eagued with Riario to persuade the Pope 
To make him Cardinal, to wean him from 
His early love by proud ambition's lust. 
Forced by my sire and them, I yielded him — ■ 
Crushed the dear memories of a loving life 
Like springtide flowers beneath my feet, and then 
Sprang up along ray path the poisonous weeds 
Of bitter grief to bear the fruits of death. 
Oh, Maddalena, if thou e'er hast known 
The dearth of loneliness, the joys of love, 
The pang of parting even for brief days 
Irom one thou lovest, think how terrible 
'Twould be to part for ever, and to see 
The loved one pass through torments worse than death 
Into the unseen world, before whose void 
Even faith is struck with palsy of despair. 
And prayer shrinks trembling. Yet such grief is mine ! 
And though, through cruel fate, a sister's lot 
Is all I now can claim, the martyrdom 
Of suffering love, the sacrifice of self. 
That he might live a higher life than mine, 
While I might gaze on him as from afar, 
Till we can claim an angel's ministry, 

68 Alfonso petrucci. [Aut v. 

Divorced no more — this, this hath raised my soul 
Above the world, the grave, and death itself; 
And now even this must fail me, and the day 
Of my soul's famine dawn ! 

Mad. Poor victim of 

A love that hath beguiled and must consume thee, 
How can I help thee? Even now 'tis said 
That the dread sentence of a parricide 
Hath been pronounced on him thy love might once 
Have raised to saintly life. Yet now that justice 
Hath had her sway, mercy may interpose 
And stay the blow, though not arrest the sentence. 
But work like this brooks not an hour's delay. 
We must seek audience of the Pope ; there plead — ■ 
Thou with the eloquence of suffering love, 
Myself with all a woman's sympathy — ■ 
For him, for thee. May Heaven with blest success 
Crown our importunate prayers ! 

Laod. And thy dear love 

With life of peace and diadem of glory ! [Exeunt. 

Scene IV. — The Pofis private apartments in the Vatican. 
Leo X. ; Cardinal Cornelio. 

Cor. I do conjure your Holiness to pause 
In this dread business. Lend not ready ear 
To Don Raffaello. For the coveted prize 
Of Siena's lordship he would hold but cheap 
The lives of all his race. Oh, suffer not 
The sacred purple to be stained with blood, 
A Cardinal to be tortured as a slave. 
Since Urban's reign of terror and of guilt. 


When thrilling cries of tortured Cardinals 
Ascended to high heaven, such sickening sight 
Hath ne'er in Rome been witnessed.* Is it yet 
Too late to stay thine hand ? 

Leo X. I know not whether 

This strongest remedy for stubborn guilt 
Hath been resorted to. I cannot stay 
The march of justice, or prescribe its course. 
When the stern rule of the Pontifical law 
Hath been enforced, mercy may claim its due, 
But not till then. 

Cor. Yet what if (as 'tis said) 

He hath confessed his guilt ? 

Leo X. 'Tis not enough ; 

He must denounce his fell accompUces. 
His guilt stands forth by clearest evidence; 
Theirs must be proved by him. 

Cor. Oh, hadst thou been 

With us in yonder judgment-hall to see 
The form of Don Alfonso, standing forth 
In all its youthful beauty, moved with grief 
That death, and such a death, so soon would mar 
So fair a life, thine inmost soul, like ours, 
Had melted into pity, longed to hear 
Some gentler sentence. For when Don Rinaldo 
Rose, at the judges' stern behest, to read 
Their finding and decree, a thrill of grief 
Passed through the crowd, so saddening and so deep 

* The horrible cruelties of Urban VI. to the captive Cardinals, 
whom he dragged about with him, even ordering the murder of one 
of them on the road, are detailed by his secretary Theodoricus a 
Niem, an eye-witness, in the first book of his history of the great 


That I was fain to weep, and dared not lift 
Mine eyes to gaze around me. Then there fell 
Upon mine ear the voice of that grave man 
In race the kinsman, and in love the sire 
Of the rash youth whose doom inflexible, 
In cruel mockery of his grief, he was 
Constrained to read — the sentence of sure death 
Not less to her whose love was his sole bliss, 
Than to Alfonso, yea, and to himself. 
Oil, as eaclf accent trembled into life, 
Or, choked by strong emotion, died away 
Upon the burdened air, what tongue might tell 
The grief that filled our breasts ! 

Leo X. : Thou feelest, methinks, 

Less for the victim of so great a crime 
Than for its agent — like the king of old 
Who mourned for Absalom. If he but lived, 
And all our lives had perished through his guilt. 
It would have pleased thee well. 

Cor. Thou dost misjudge 

The motive of my words. They but invoke 
Thy mercy for the criminal ; the crime 
Who can extenuate ? 

Enter a Messenger, 

Mess. Your Holiness 

Is importuned by the Donna Maddalena 
To give your gracious audience to herself 
And to a suppliant friend. 

Leo X. My sister needs • 

No importunity to urge her suit ; 
Tell her we welcome her. \Exit Cornelio. 


Enter Maddalena with Laodamia. 

Mad. My brother, raised to this high pinnacle 
Of earthly greatness and of heavenly power, 
We need to feel with tenderer care and love 
For those who, like the martyred saints of old, 
Are children of the sorrows of the cross ; 
And this sad daughter of our faith and race 
Is bent down to the earth by load of grief 
So heavy, that thy heart may well be moved 
With pity for her state. Laodamia, 
Approach and claim a father's love for him 
Who might have borne for thee a husband's name. 

Laod. (kneeling before the Pope). I cannot speak; my 
tears must be my prayers. 
Their source thou know'st too well. 

Leo X. {raising her up). Alas ! poor child, 

Thou hast loved, and, in blind ignorance of his 

Hast loved a parricide. 

Laod. And love him still, 

Because I feel, I know that, if not free 
From guilt, he hath by treacherous guides been led 
To the dread brink of this dark infamy, 
And that the heart that loves must yet repent 
But as his sentence hath been now decreed 
And justice had her reign, it is for thee, 
Of God's eternal mercy minister. 
To say wit.h thy Great Master, " Go, my son, 
And sin no more ! " Oh, what a fount of love 
Would be unsealed within Alfonso's heart 
By word like this ! The purple then would be 
Sprinkled with tears of grateful love, not stained 


With bloody which no repentant tears might else 
Wipe from the great remembrance book of God 

Alad. What word of mine can add to this great 
plea ' 

Of faith, of love, from breaking heart sent forth ? 
Thou know'st, my brother, to Francesco Cibo 
I am betrothed. Thy love hath promised me 
A fitting dowry. Oh, be this thy gift — 
If not to pardon, at the least to save 
Alfonso from the doom of fearful death ! 

Leo X. I dare not promise unconditioned mercy 
In case like this. Murder might else stalk forth, 
And hand in hand with sacrilege invade 
Our homes, and make our holiest things a prey. 
Such pardon needs securities. Our life 
Is menaced here in Rome, our rule in Siena, 
If but Alfonso yield himself to us. 
And pledge allegiance to the Don Raffaello, 
Renounce his claims, denounce the accomplices 
In this great treason, we might take his case 
Into our high consideration ; change 
His fearful penalty to lighter doom. 

Lewd. I cannot barter with thee for a life 
As though it were mere merchandise. To him 
Pardon on terms like these were worse than death, 
And life a brand of shame. 

Mad. My child, forbear 

From such dread utterance. 

Laod. ' Oh, Maddalena, 

Forgive me ! And forgive me. Holy Father ! 
I minded not that thou art God's high priest, 
Else would those words which pierced my heart have 


As on the desert air, where no response 

But their own echo could have reached thine ear. 

Leo X. My sister, it were useless to prolong 
This scene of misery. In thy loving care 
We leave this suppliant , Let her prove her love 
To him whose innocence, with childlike faith 
And childish petulance, she urges still. 
By leading him to own his guilt, denounce 
The partners of his crime, renounce his claims 
On Siena, and without reserve submit 
His cause to me. I might be merciful, 
But I must first be just. 

Scene V. — The prison. Laodamia; Alfonso. 

Laod. All, all hath failed ! The gentle Maddalena, 
Angel of light in these dark halls of death, 
Brought me before the Pope ; appealed for thee, 
For me,. with all the artless eloquence 
Of a pure life, a heart which hath not yet 
Unlearned the tenderness of woman's love. 
Though she ne'er knew its grief. 

Alf. And what said he, 

The fabled successor of saints and martyrs. 
Who builds their tombs but to allow the deeds 
Of those who slew them ? 

Laod. Few and cold his words, 

Worthy of all his race. Like broker, sworn 
To appraise the few last days of thy poor life. 
He named his price— laid down conditions. 
Had I come there with gold like old Riario, 
Or ample lands, I might perchance have bought 


Oblivion for thy guilt, as he for his.* 

Alf. And what were his conditions ? 

Laod. ' To denounce 

The partners of thy crime, renounce thy claims 
On Siena, and give fealty to Raffaello ; 
Then might he yet give ear unto my prayer 
And save thy life. 

Alf. I will not ask what then 

Thou saidst. My more than life was in thy hands, 
And thou, the angel of our name and race, 
Couldst not betray^it. But my time is short. 
My days are numbered, and this meeting hour 
Is measured out by seconds. See, the sand 
Is running low. 

Laod. Oh, Don Alfonso, say 

But one, one word — that thou art innocent, 
Or, if not innocent, repentant. Leave 
This last best heritage to stay my heart 
And be its bread of life when thou art gone. 
Then will I wear away this life of pain 
In importunity of prayer and deeds 
Of mercy, and will build again for thee 
The altar of my love. Said I "again " ? 
It stands ; no human hand can cast it down, 
No papal curse can make it desecrate. 
Give me, then, this last pledge of constant love. 
Friend — brother — guide — I dare not call thee more — ■ 
Betrothed and parted— parting now for ever ! 

\FaUs on his neck. 

* Riario ransomed his life for the enormous sum of 100,000 golden 
crowns. Soderini gave 10,000 for his life, while Saulio was killed 
"with a slow poison" (see Palatius in his life of Leo X., who 
quotes Foligta; "Elogia Clariss. Ligurum"), 


Alf. Oh, saint of God, too sacred for the love 
Of mortal stained with guilt and doomed to pay 
The price of maddening wrath, I have nought to leave _ 
Save the eternal memory of a love 
That must live on where'er our lot may be, 
And through thy prayers may live with thine in 

I do repent — I would that I could say 
Believe and hope. Thy prayers must gain for me 
The faith I lost too soon, the hope that sinks 
On the dark horizon of a life of guilt. 

Laod. Yet thou art penitent, and thy dear love 
Is stainless ; how then can I deem thee false 
To him who is the bond of all our loves, 
Uniting all in Christ ? A wondrous dream 
Of joy comes o'er me. These grim walls are changed 
To the fair palace where, in earlier days, 
We spake of love — the cradle of our race. 
I see the orange-groves where once we walked, 
And watched the domes of Siena as they met 
The rising sun, or basked in the long sunset. 
Oh, they were days of bliss ; and they return 
To gaze on us as from a distant world, 
And mock the ruins of our outraged love ! 
Alfonso, say, oh, say thy heart is true — 
That those blest days gave not false prophecy. 
Say that thou lovest me still. Yet rather say 
That thou art innocent. For that one word 
I would give up — not life, for life to me 
Is living death ; but more, far more — thy love ! 

Alf. Yet have we lived to prove that all is false 
Save that undying love ; and can my guilt 
Be true where all is false ? Thy truth alone, 


Thy pitying glance, reminds me there is yet 
A pardoning God. 

Laod. Oh, be His pardon thine, 

And mine to pray for it, till prayer no more 
Can rise from this lone heart. Oh, God ! to part 
So soon ! to die so young ! Farewell, farewell ! 

Alf. Yet not for ever ; for my life of guilt 
Shall cleave to thee, and thou wilt cleave to Him 
From whom no curse of Pope or prince on earth 
Can ever rend thee ! {Looks at the hour-glass.) But the 

hour hath come ! 
The guard is at the door. 

Enter a Guard. 

Guard. Most noble lady, 

The hour of interview is o'er. 

Laod. Great God, 

Be with him to the last. I may not be. 
Farewell, farewell ! and be thy words mine own — 
" Yet not for ever ! " [Exeunt. 

Scene VI. — A gallery adjoining the prison, lit with a 
faint lamp. Laodamia, entering it, meets Orlando, 
formerly in the service of Alfonso. 

Laod. Orlando, is it thou ? By what strange chance 
Hath it befallen thee to keep watch and ward 
Over thy master's son ? 

Orl. By the same chance 

Which made me first his slave. 


Laod. Nay, answer kindly. 

The lord Pandolfo was thy faithful friend ; 
He saved thy life from pirates, who had doomed 
To death their captives, when with mightier arm 
He rescued thee. 

Orl. To doom that life to slavery ; 

Though in these veins the holy Prophet's blood 
Flows pure and clear, even as through dark ravine 
The mountain torrent 

Laod. Yet thou owest thy life 

To him, and but for him its current now 
Would be choked up in deatL 

Orl. 'Twere better far 

To choke it at its source, than make its stream 
Stagnant and thick in the polluted air 
Of Rome or Siena. 

Laod. Oh, let former wrongs 

Be now forgotten. Think of him who once 
Was thy fond playmate, loved thee, followed thee, 
Hung breathlessly upon thy wondrous tales 
Of Moorish life, of wild and valiant deeds 
Wrought by thy kinsmen. He could wrong thee not ; 
And if he lives, thy life, thy freedom too. 
Shall live with his. 

Orl. Lady, 'twere doubtful gain 

To save a traitor. He who breaks his faith 
May never mend it j and that faith was pledged 
To him whom he believes in as his prophet. 
His great high priest 

Laod. Why call Alfonso traitor 

On a mere traitor's word ? To thee, at least. 
He hath been faithful. Oh, condemn him not ; 
But soothe for him his dread captivity 


With the blest thought that one who knew him first 
Dares trust him to the end. 

Orl. And could I trust him 

When to his brother he was faithless found ? 
Could he who had betrayed his master prove 
True to a slave like me ? 

Laod. Oh, good Orlando, 

I thought not this of thee. Thy race is famed 
For faith unwavering and invincible. 
For love forsaking not when all forsake. 
Oh, I would here invoke it — claim at least 
Thy pity for his fate whom once thou lovedst. 
Thou canst not hate him now. [Orlando passes on. 

Laod. Oh, whither can I turn in this dark maze 
Of cruelty and wrong ? I have no guide. 
And wander on companionless. In vain 
I ask my way ; no human tongue replies. 
The voices of the howling wilderness 
Bring back my prayers upon my breaking heart ! 
Oh, if Alfonso could but say that word, 
" I am innocent ! " if I could find but one 
To disbelieve his guilt, but one to cast 
His mite of faith into the treasury 
Of this fond heart which loved and loves him still ! 
If I could wake one kindly thought in those 
Who envied once, and well might pity now ! 
But who is this approaching ? 

Enter Violante. 

Violante ? 
Oh, wherefore here ? For me this scene of death 
Seems like a birthplace. But for thee ? 


Viol. My sister, 

My birthplace still is thine; for kindred souls 
Are born together, must together bear 
The yoke of life, and then together die. 
But I must lead thee hence. Thy heart-rent sire 
Is wandering frantic, wildly pacing on 
Througli this vast maze of halls and corridors, 
Uttering thy name to every passing breeze 
Which but returns his moan. Oh, leave with me 
This charnel-house. Return to the upper air 
From this dark stifling gloom. 

Laod. I cannot move. 

My heart is chained, my limbs are paralyzed; 
The chill of death comes o'er me. Do I live. 
Or is even life a dream ? 

Viol. Oh, lean on me. 

And I will lean on God. He bears our cross 
Who friendless bare His own. 

Laod. I cannot move. 

I dread me that his hour of doom is nigh. 
And mine must strike with his ! If he lives still, 
Here still I live with him ; if here he dies, 
I die. Thou wilt not bid me to live on 
When my poor heart is dead. 

Viol. My child, be calm. 

Live for the sire who still must claim thy love ; 
Live even for me. This prison air hath chilled 
Thy very life-blood. Come, oh, come with me. 

Laod. Nay, touch me not. Fear not that I shall 
faint ; 
I feel an arm I never felt before 
Sustaining me. Great God, what do I hear ? 
It is Alfonso's voice ! 


Viol. 'Tis but the wind 

Howling along the corridor. 

Laod. Nay, nay; 

It is his voice. It is a shriek of anguish. 
Canst thou deceive me ? Know I not his voice ? 
There, there ; dost hear it now ? 

Viol. I hear strange sounds, 

As of wild men in conflict. 'Tis perchance 
Some prison orgy. Every day we hear 
Such strifes as these in the streets, and why not here ? 

Laod. Oh, trifle not with such a grief as mine, 
Hark ! 'tis his voice again, and now a cry 
As of the hideous Moor exulting o'er 
His unarmed victim,* and a sound I hear 
As of two struggling men. God give him strength ! 
There is a heavy fall, a dying groan. 
It is Alfonso's ! 

Viol. Child, it is thy dream. 

Oh, wake to life. Rinaldo ! Lord of heaven. 
Oh, bring him quickly ! Thine be all the praise, 
He comes ! 

Enter RiNALDO, conducted by a Guard. 

Rin. Last treasure of this bursting heart. 
Oh, let me lead thee hence. Come, come with me, 
Lest this dank air put out the only light 
Which guides me to the grave. 

Laod. My sire ! my life ! 

My prayer is answered. 'Twas that thou mightst come. 

[Rinaldo takes her hand, 

* " In profundum, obtorto collo, perductus, eodem die ferro per 
cussus vitam finiit, cum carnifice luctando Orlando ^Ethiope ' 
(Palatii, " Fasti Card."). 


No, not to lead me hence, but here to take 
My last, last breath ; to witness that my love 
Lives in the darkness of this prison-house, 
Lives in the night of death. The blow that fell 
Upon Alfonso, with yet surer aim 
Hath fallen on me. My life of life is dead, 
And the poor life which gave it outward form 
Sinks with it to the grave. And thou, my sire. 
Wilt lay that life with his. Even if he's doomed 
To have the burial of a parricide. 
Wound up in sackcloth shroud, and cast into 
The Tiber, whose dull waves tell silently 
Of ruined lives, of memories buried deep. 
Of all the guilt and grief which these dark walls 
Have witnessed, and shall witness yet to heaven 
When earth no more can cover up her slain — 
If such a grave be his, oh, let me share it. 
And I shall rise with him to plead the ills. 
The cruel wrongs which turned a loving life 
Into a life of madness. But my strength 
Is failing ; let me lean upon thy breast — ' 
There sleep my life away. 

Rin. • Sleep there, my child ; 

Yet sleep to wake again. This loving breast 
Pillowed thine infancy. Oh, be thy sleep 
As sweet as it was then, thy waking smile 
As bright. But thou art cold ! 

Viol, {placing her hand on her forehead). Oh, Don 
She sleeps, but ne'er to wake. She seemed to hear, 
Or heard (God only knows); the stroke of death 
Fall on the form she loved, and as it fell 
It was her death-stroke too. The higher life 



Struggled in vain to quell the earlier love, 
Pure as itself, and in the fearful strife 
Her soul was borne to God. 

Rin. And I have been 

The priest of that dread sacrifice ! 'Twas I 
Who changed a wife's into a sister's love, 
And hid the earlier fiame I could not quenchj 
And it hath now consumed her. 

Viol. Oh, forbear 

To linger on the past. 'Tis past to her ; 
Oh, be it past to us. 

Rin. Yet must I close 

Those loving eyes, feel if that heart still beats. 
I feel it. Feel it with me, Violante, 
And tell me it still beats. 

Viol. 'Tis but the throb 

Of thy poor feverish hand. Alas ! her heart 
Can beat no more for ever. Bear us hence. 
Kind guards, and be her martyred form embalmed 
In prayers and tears, preventing that glad day 
When gain of heaven shall every loss restore. 
And earth-wronged soul can suffer wrong no more. 








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